Apart from Ranbir Kapoor, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is likely to summon several other Bollywood celebrities to record their statement in the Mahadev Book betting app case. The celebs, including Sonakshi Sinha, Shraddha Kapoor, Guru Randhawa, Urvashi Rautela, Daisy Shah, Boman Irani, Bharti Singh, Emraan Hashmi and Ameesha Patel, will likely be questioned regarding the promotion and endorsement of the online app.
These celebs, and some others from the South film industry, had allegedly promoted the controversial app. The ED is in possession of videos in which these celebrities can be seen promoting the app on social media.
The app has been branded as "Asia's biggest gaming platform". While endorsing it, the celebs have also urged users to create accounts and commence playing games. They also guarantee that winners will receive their prize amounts within 10 minutes.They share a contact number, which, in reality, connects to the Mahadev call center, located in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and UAE. When an individual sends a message to this number, they are directed to a call center. Subsequently, the call center forwards the potential client's information to a panel operator who then assists the person in opening an account with the betting app, placing bets, and receiving money. The entire transaction is conducted using fake document-based bank accounts, held by the panel operator, which are utilised to divert the money.
According to ED officials, legitimate and real-money gaming applications have GST numbers and are registered in India. The mastermind of Mahadev app operates from offshore locations, making it a particularly challenging case to investigate and address.
ED sources have stated that they are currently verifying the social media accounts of several Bollywood celebrities in order to understand the chain of endorsements and the associated timelines. This investigative effort is aimed at gaining a comprehensive understanding of how these endorsements unfolded and the roles played by celebrities in promoting the app.
Additionally, ED is conducting an investigation into the amount of money these celebrities received for endorsing the app and the payment methods that were used. The agency aims to determine if the payments made to the actors were in cash and is interested in identifying the sources of these payments and their timelines. Sources suggest that these individuals received substantial sums for promoting and popularising the app.
ED is exploring whether this money might have been part of a hawala network and is also eager to identify the individuals behind these celebrities who were approached and signed up for promoting the app.
ED officials mention that there were allegedly photos of cricketers used in the promotion of the betting app, but as of now, no direct link to their involvement in the betting app has been established.