Mahadev Betting App Case: ED Freezes Assets Worth ₹580 Crore, Nabs Hawala Operator Girish Talreja; Identifies Key Player Of Scandal

Mahadev Betting App Case: ED Freezes Assets Worth ₹580 Crore, Nabs Hawala Operator Girish Talreja; Identifies Key Player Of Scandal

According to ED officials during the probe they identified the key player of Mahadev betting scandal. ED identified the hawala operator", Hari Shankar Tibrewal in this case.

Ashish SinghUpdated: Saturday, March 02, 2024, 07:50 AM IST
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Girish Talreja |

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has identified and frozen security holdings worth more than ₹580 crore of a Dubai-based hawala operator. They also seized cash and valuables worth ₹3.64 crore after nationwide raids as part of the Mahadev betting app probe. The frozen security holdings are in the form of stocks, demat account, foreign direct investment (FDI), and foreign portfolio investment (FPI). ED searches were launched on February 28 at various premises in Mumbai, Kolkata, Indore, and Raipur and the National Capital Region (NCR).

ED identifies key player

According to ED officials during the probe they identified the key player of Mahadev betting scandal. ED identified the hawala operator", Hari Shankar Tibrewal in this case. He hails from Kolkata but currently resides in Dubai. He partnered with the promoters of the Mahadev app and also owned and operated an alleged illegal betting app — sky exchange. 

According to sources, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has frozen security holdings worth ₹580.78 crore, beneficially owned by Tibrewal, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). The agency also recovered cash worth ₹1.86 crore and valuables worth ₹1.78 crore during these searches. The ED searches also resulted in the seizure of a large number of incriminating pieces of evidence, including digital data, and the identification of assets.   

Investigation's findings

During the investigation, it was revealed that Tibrewal, a key player and patner of the Mahadev betting app, was investing the betting proceeds in the Indian stock market through his Dubai-based entities using the Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) route. He had also appointed many of his associates as directors in various companies involved in layering the betting proceeds by investing them in the stock market. Additionally, he was involved in large-scale hawala movements of the betting funds. 

In the Mahadev betting scandal, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Girish Talreja, a hawala operator from Bhopal, who is linked to the app's promoter. Talreja's arrest, which took place on Friday, follows a series of investigations revealing his association with Shubham Soni and Ratanlal Jain from Bhopal. Notably, substantial transactions worth crores of rupees have been traced between Shubham Soni, Pradeep Talreja, and Ratanlal Jain. Investigations have revealed that Pradeep Talreja is also one of the promoters of the Mahadev betting app. The ED is also searching for Ratanlal Jain. Talreja was previously arrested in 2019 when the Emigration Department apprehended him after finding his close link in an IPL betting case.

The ED initiated its investigation based on FIRs registered by the Chhattisgarh Police. Subsequently, other FIRs registered by the Vishakhapatnam Police and other states were also included in the investigation. The ED's investigation into Mahadev Online Book revealed large-scale hawala operations aimed at siphoning off the proceeds of betting to offshore accounts.

Movable properties worth Rs.572.41 Crore seized/frozen

Earlier in this case, movable properties totalling Rs.572.41 Crore have been seized/frozen during searches conducted under the PMLA, 2002.Two Provisional Attachment Orders have been issued, attaching movable and immovable properties valued at Rs.142.86 Crore.Prosecution complaints dated 20.10.2023 and 01.01.2024, have been filed in the case. Nine accused have already been apprehended in connection with the case. Thus, total attachment/freezing in the case stands at Rs1296.05 crore.

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