The central figure in the Mahadev App match-fixing mega scam, Prakash Bankar (37), who is the complainant and whistleblower, was arrested by the Mumbai police during the 2019 World Cup for betting. Incidentally, he was allegedly placing bets on Mahadev App itself.
When Bankar, a Matunga-resident, found that heavy betting was taking place on the current World Cup ODIs, he filed a complaint in the court of the metropolitan magistrate in Kurla "in the national interest." The court , in turn, ordered Matunga police to file an FIR and investigate his complaint which dealth with betting, match fixing, crypto currency and hawala transactions of as many as 32 bookies. He alleged that Saurabh Chandrakar of Mahadev App was running a syndicate which had a turnover of a whopping Rs 15,000 crore.
Bankar arrested in 2019
Investigation by FPJ revealed that Bankar himself was caught by Matunga police on June 25, 2019 for alleged betting. According to the FIR (FPJ has a copy) the police said it received information on June 25, 2019 about one Mikin Shah indulging in betting at Ramee Guest Line Hotel near Dadar railway station (east) on the 2019 Cricket World Cup match between Australia and England. When they raided the hotel room no. 706, they found Shah, Manish Singh, Ghyaneshwar Kharmate and Prakash Bankar there.
The police said they saw the accused indulging in betting through several mobile phones. The accused in their statement to police claimed that they were placing bets through a website www.lotusbook247.com.
The investigation by the Matunga police revealed that Bankar had created an account on the said app which was - "IND12308prakash". The said ID was used by Shah for placing bets. After the verification of their mobile, including chats with punters and details of the App, the police booked the accused under the Gambling Act and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. They were later arrested by the police.
Dubai-residing man booked
It is further revealed during the probe into Mahadev betting app, Lotusbook247 was incorporated by a man namely Aman. Mumbai police in its latest match-fixing complaint has booked Aman, who is said to be residing in Dubai and is said to be closely associated with Mahadev App promoter Saurabh Chandrakar
Besides, in the raid, Kharmate who too was present in the room was a police sub Inspector attached to Byculla police station. Kharmate, could not explain his presence in the hotel room and was later suspended.The Bombay High Court has, however, stayed the ongoing trial against Kharmate.
Sources revealed that the case recently registered by Matunga police station against Mahadev app is likely to be transferred to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) or the Crime Branch for investigation. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is already probing the larger Mahadev app case against Chandrakar, his partner Ravi Uppal and others.