Mrugank Mishra, one of the directors of the Mahadev app and a close associate of Saurabh Chandrakar, was arrested at Mumbai Airport on Saturday. A lookout notice had been issued against him in connection with the Mahadev betting app case. He had been staying in Dubai for the past two years and was arrested by the Rajasthan police with support from the Mumbai police upon arriving from Dubai. The Rajasthan police was in the picture since a case against him was filed in its jurisdiction.
Connection with Saurabh Chandrakar
According to Rajasthan police, Mishra, originally from Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, lived a lavish lifestyle. He owns a residential property in Octra Crest Apartment, located in Lokhandwala, Kandivali (East). Recently, officials from central agencies conducted a search of the flat and seized several documents. During their investigation, they discovered that very few individuals within the organization were aware of his connection with Saurabh Chandrakar.
Rajasthan Police investigations have further revealed that Mishra managed to open over 1600 accounts for Mahadev app betting transactions. Initially, they identified and froze 90 accounts only,in which 68 had transactions totaling more than 2000 crore rupees. This substantial transaction amount is associated with IPL 2023 edition betting, involving funds received in these accounts from betting and withdrawals for hawala.
Amit Kumar, SP of Rajasthan, stated, 'We are examining other accounts to obtain a clear estimate and understand the total amount of betting that was transferred to these accounts.'
Significant role in Mahadev betting app syndicate
According to Rajasthan police, Mishra played a significant role in the Mahadev betting app syndicate. His primary responsibility was to arrange bank accounts and SIM cards for accepting bets and processing transactions. Mishra, with the help of a local syndicate in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Rajasthan, and several other states, completed these tasks with minimal investments. He typically targeted individuals from lower-income classes, including vegetable sellers, shopkeepers, and daily wage workers. Gaining their trust by invoking various government schemes, Mishra would assist them in opening multiple accounts and obtaining several SIM cards using these individuals' documents. These SIM cards and bank account details were provided to the associated panel operators of the Mahadev app.
These panel operators were, in fact, partners or associates of Saurabh Chandrakar, who is involved with the Mahadev betting app. These operators used the acquired SIM cards to accept bets from individuals, and the bank accounts to process the bet amounts and facilitate money transfers through Hawala channels to the UAE. These fake accounts were used to receive betting amounts for various T-20 series, IPL, and other league matches from various countries.
Complex betting, hawala operation using fake bank accounts
In May 2023, a case involving the Mahadev betting app came to light when a nationalized bank reported suspicious transactions across several accounts. The Rajasthan police initiated an investigation, which revealed a complex betting and Hawala operation using fake bank accounts. Among these accounts, 68 had transactions totaling more than 2000 crore rupees, primarily related to IPL betting matches. The police seized these accounts, which contained around 4 crore rupees.
What made this case even more concerning was that the victims were unaware that these bank accounts were opened and operated in their names.