The recent investigations conducted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Mahadev betting app case have unveiled a complex web of illegal offshore gambling operations.
At the heart of the scandal is Saurabh Chandrakar, the prime accused, along with his associate Ravi Uppal.
The duo is suspected to have masterminded not one, but 60 illicit offshore gambling platforms in addition to the notorious Mahadev app.
Expanding Illicit Operations Beyond Mahadev
The Free Press Journal has reported that Chandrakar’s illicit empire extended beyond Mahadev. He was found to be orchestrating his gambling operations through platforms such as Fair Play and Ready Anna, even leveraging the promotion of celebrities like Ranbir Kapoor to attract unsuspecting participants. However, the duo’s illicit activities did not end there. Aside from the well-known Mahadev, Reddy Anna, and Fair Play, they were also operating three other online gambling platforms: Laser Book, Tiger Exchange and Lotus 365.
Laser Book serves as a subsidiary gambling platform to the Mahadev app. During the investigation, it was discovered that Laser Book was not operating in isolation. It was connected as a partner to several other betting apps, including 99 Exchange, 11x Play, Play 247win, and LC Play 247. All of these apps, in turn, were subsidiary apps of the promoter Chandrakar’s betting app.
Prominent Figures in Promotion
Prominent figures such as choreographer Farah Khan, actresses Kajal Aggarwal, Sunny Leone, Sohfi Chaudhry and Krystal Dsouza were implicated in promoting these gambling platforms. They enticed potential users with promises, including the assurance of withdrawing winnings in just two minutes.
Tiger Exchange is endorsed by actor Nil Nitin Mukesh, comedian Krishna, actress Nia Sharma and cricketer Sikander Raza, employing the same modus operandi.
Lotus 365's Claims
Lotus 365 claims that actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui serves as the brand ambassador of its app, and it is registered with a casino license.
ED officials reported that all these apps share similar applications, but they have different domain names. Chandrakar’s motive appears to be to make betting accessible to anyone, from anywhere.
Call Centers and Lucrative Operations
ED sources said that Chandrakar set up three call centres – in Nepal, Sri Lanka and the UAE. These centres receive calls and analyse potential customers. They then transfer the number to a specific game operator. These operations were so lucrative that Chandrakar was earning more then Rs150 crore from the apps after paying out winners, giving commissions, and meeting expenses of the employees.
The officials said they will send summons to every person linked to the case. Apart from Kapil Sharma, they have identified more then 34 A-list celebrities who attended Chandrakar’s party in September 2022, from Sanjay Dutt to Sonu Soodh, Sonakshi Sinha to Sara Ali Khan.