Mahadev Betting App Case: ED's Investigation Exposes Complex Financial Network, Key Players & Laundering Tactics

Mahadev Betting App Case: ED's Investigation Exposes Complex Financial Network, Key Players & Laundering Tactics

Suraj Chokhani and Girish Talreja, the key accused in the case, have revealed crucial details under intensive interrogation.

Ashish SinghUpdated: Saturday, March 09, 2024, 01:38 AM IST
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The Enforcement Directorate's (ED) investigation into the Mahadev betting app case has uncovered a sophisticated web of financial transactions involving Mahadev and its subsidiary apps. Suraj Chokhani and Girish Talreja, the key accused in the case, have revealed crucial details under intensive interrogation. The ED's probe revealed Hari Shankar Tibrewal's pivotal role in the Mahadev betting app. Tibrewal, currently residing in Dubai but originally from Kolkata, partnered with Mahadev Online Book's promoters for illegal betting operations on the “Skyexchange”.

Revelations of ED's investigation

The interrogation of Chokhani and the ED's investigation revealed that Tibrewal had laundered the proceeds of crime from the betting operations through multiple companies operating in both India and abroad. Tibrewal used Chokhani to launder and hide proceeds of crime under the guise of share investment in Indian companies.

Hari Shankar Tibrewal

Hari Shankar Tibrewal |

The ED searches at the premises of Tibrewal's associates, including Chokhani in Kolkata, revealed that the majority of the funds for these investments were collected through bank entries against cash in these companies, which were then utilised for investment in the share market. Indian companies under the control of associates of Tibrewal held securities worth Rs580 crore in stock portfolios. Foreign entities also invested in India via the foreign portfolio investment (FPI) route and were found to be holding securities worth Rs606 crore in stock portfolios.

Suraj Chokhani

Suraj Chokhani |

Further investigation revealed that Tibrewal was involved in manipulating the stock market in collusion with the promoters of listed companies. Using his substantial capital, Tibrewal created temporary fluctuations in share prices, driving them upwards, and then withdrew funds once the prices reached a desirable level.

Talreja and Lotus365

Hawala operator Talreja is a stakeholder in the operations of “Lotus365,” a sister concern of Mahadev Online Book. Alongside Ratan Lal Jain alias Aman and Sourabh Chandrakar, he is a partner in the illicit operations of Lotus365.

Girish Talreja

Girish Talreja |

During searches conducted at various locations across Kolkata, Haryana, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa, including the branches of Lotus365 in Pune, it was discovered that the Pune branch alone handled approximately Rs50 crore in betting cash per month. Talreja was identified as a member of the 'cash handling WhatsApp group' of this branch. Consequently, Rs1 crore in cash was seized during the search.

Recently, on March 4, the ED conducted a search in Goa related to a prominent panel operator involved in the Mahadev case. The search led to the seizure of Rs48 lakh in cash from the operator.

In the Mahadev betting app case, movable properties totalling Rs1764.5 crore have been seized and frozen during searches conducted under the PMLA, 2002. Two Provisional Attachment Orders have been issued, attaching movable and immovable properties valued at Rs142.c6 crore.

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