According to sources in the Economic Intelligence Agency and the Enforcement Directorate, absconding accused in the Mahadev App scam, Saurabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal, were in contact with experts for developing a fantasy game app to further their business. The duo, who are close to don Dawood Ibrahim, had even released several advertisements in the run up to the launch of the fantasy app. However, the new app never got developed. Nevertheless, the authorities are trying to interrogate those who had agreed to help Chandrakar and Uppal.
Chandrakar and Uppal are both from Bhilai and through an assistant police inspector Chandrabhushan Verma had even allegedly accessed Vinod Verma, political adviser to the Chhattisgarh chief minister. The ED had raided Vinod Verma's residence and reportedly seized several documents. The Directorate also has questioned several family members of Vinod Verma, whose interrogation is yet to be conducted.
Plans to establish a start-up firm
According to agency sources, Chandrakar was in contact with a few business consultants a year and a half ago to establish a start-up firm for a fantasy gaming app related to his Mahadev app. Sources have indicated that these business consultants, bureaucrats were influential and willing to provide an expert team of specialists to develop his Fantasy app. They even gave a pilot project demo of the Fantasy app to Chandrakar and Uppal, promising to help establish their third-party fantasy app with legal approval from the authorities. According to reliable sources, Chandrakar contacted several influential individuals, including bureaucrats, to seek assistance from a few ministers. He expected that, with their support, he would establish contacts for various leagues and sports tie-ups, including members of the BCCI board for his fantasy app.
Technical issues with kickstarting the app
During the investigation, the Economic Intelligence found that his app is facing various challenges. The company, on the name of his close associates, has struggled to establish partnerships with any leagues. According to intelligence officials, Chandrakar attempted to collaborate with active fantasy apps and some Dubai-based T-10 leagues but hasn't gained much from these collaborations including the technical issues of the fantasy app.
According to the law, online games are regulated by the Public Gambling Act of 1867 and the Information Technology Act of 2000, which govern online gaming activities in India. Online gaming platforms must obtain a license or permission from the state government where they offer games for money or other stakes. If there is no such state law or authority, they must obtain a license or permission from Meity (Ministry of Electronics and IT).