In a shocking revelation, which has come to the notice of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), it is learnt that Kheloyar, the Pakistani betting app with links to the Dawood Ibrahim gang, was the title sponsor of the Indo-Ireland T20 cricket series in August, 2023.
While probing the Mahadev app scam, ED sleuths came across the Pakistan-based app which was jointly promoted by Karachi-based Mustaqim Ibrahim Kaskar, younger brother of Dawood Ibrahim, and allegedly by Saurabh Chandrakar, who is wanted by the central agency.
In the three-match series, one game was cancelled due to rain, while the other two matches were held at The Village, Dublin, with Kheloyar app along with two other betting apps as sponsors. Following the series, the Cricket Board of Ireland issued an apology in response to multiple complaints received by the Ireland sports ministry regarding the ads.
In addition to this, 'Kheloyar' was a prominent sponsor in the Lanka Premier League (LPL) 2023. During this premier league, the promotion of this app was visible from the field to the boundary ropes and boundary walls. The company also sponsored the team 'Colombo Strikers' in the LPL. Furthermore, the second team of the LPL, 'Dambulla Aura,' also featured Kheloyar as a sponsor on their jerseys. Notably, several Pakistani cricketers were part of different teams in the LPL.
During the matches, an advertisement for Tiger-Exchange, another betting app, was prominently displayed on the boundaries. Allegedly, Chandrakar was the promoter of this subsidiary app as well.
This sponsorship gained attention when Pakistani cricketer Babar Azam allegedly refused to wear the jersey and helmet featuring the betting company's logo.
Previously, senior player Mohammad Rizwan had also refused to wear a logo of a betting company in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). The irony here is that while some Pakistani players are taking a stance against surrogate advertising by betting companies, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and some of its PSL franchises were sponsored by betting companies in the league's last edition, with the players wearing the logos of such firms on their jerseys.
Meanwhile, the ED officials have revealed that Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal operated the Kheloyar betting app in Pakistan with the support from D-company. It has been revealed that, on the instructions of the D-Company, Chandrakar formed a partnership with Mustaqim to operate the app.
The ED said that the illegal betting app was launched in 2021 during the pandemic with support of Dawood Ibrahim.
Several Bollywood celebrities, including Govinda, Randeep Hooda, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Daisy Shah, Rashmi Desai and Shefali Jariwala, have endorsed this Pakistan-based app through video clips.