Mahadev Betting Scandal: After Dubai Expose, Betting Empire Considers Sri Lanka Move

Mahadev Betting Scandal: After Dubai Expose, Betting Empire Considers Sri Lanka Move

They are forced to take the betting empire to the island nation as nitty-gritty of UAE operations stand exposed, says ED probe.

Ashish SinghUpdated: Monday, June 03, 2024, 12:01 AM IST
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Mahadev Betting App | X

The promoters of the Mahadev Online Book betting empire were planning a strategic relocation of their operations from Dubai to Sri Lanka. This decision came after every aspect of their UAE operations had been exposed during the Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation.Details encompassing their entire betting empire, including the intricacies of Mahadev's Dubai-based headquarters, subsidiary app operations, UAE-based shell corporations, complex web of Dubai hawala transactions and associated entities, were meticulously unearthed during an exhaustive probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). 

Crucial information about the Mahadev betting empire’s relocation was reportedly disclosed during the ED investigation when the financial probe agency  found the footprint of Mahadev app promoters in Sri Lanka last year. Sri Lanka is currently facing a bankrupt economy and significant political challenges, including a contraction in its GDP, as well as widespread corruption. These factors have prompted the promoters of the Mahadev betting empire to consider moving their operations there.

Sources indicate that for the past year and a half, Mahadev's promoters have allegedly been actively working on establishing a new hub in Sri Lanka. Under the pretense of legitimate investment, they have channeled substantial funds into the Sri Lankan real estate market and various other businesses. This strategy aims to secure valuable assets and lay the groundwork for their betting business empire. Allegedly, the promoters are funding this expansion in a manner akin to a corporate enterprise, strategically positioning themselves to exploit the economic vulnerabilities and opportunities presented by the ongoing crisis in Sri Lanka.

The financial probe agency discovered the strategic involvement of Mahadev app promoters in Sri Lanka last year when the Pakistan-based Kheloyar app, a subsidiary of the Mahadev betting app, was identified as a prominent sponsor in the Lanka Premier League (LPL) 2023. According to ED officials, Saurabh Chandrakar and brother of "D" Mustaqueem Kaskar, both serve as promoters of the betting app.

During the Lanka Premier League (LPL) 2023, the promotion of this app was visible from the field to the boundary ropes and walls. The betting app also sponsored a team in the Lanka Premier League (LPL), the 'Colombo Strikers.' Kheloyar's promotion was evident on everything, from the team's jerseys to the players' helmets. Furthermore, the second team of the Sri Lankan league, 'Damula Aura,' also featured Kheloyar as a sponsor on their jerseys. Notably, several Pakistani cricketers were part of different teams in the Sri Lankan Premier League.

Lanka Premier League, 2023

Lanka Premier League, 2023 |

Lanka Premier League, 2023

Lanka Premier League, 2023 |

Lanka Premier League, 2023

Lanka Premier League, 2023 |

During the matches, an advertisement for Tiger-Exchange, another betting app, was prominently displayed on the boundaries.Tiger-Exchange is also one of the subsidiary apps of Mahadev betting app promoters.

During the ED investigation, it was revealed that following the issuance of the Red Corner Notice against the prime movers of the Mahadev app, they became the target of international law enforcement. Subsequently, they attempted to relocate their business empire to Caribbean and African countries. Nitish Diwan, a key figure and arrested accused, disclosed during his interrogation that last year, during his earlier visit to Dubai, he traveled to Zimbabwe along with an associate of Subham Soni, another key player in the Mahadev saga, to explore the possibilities of shifting the headquarters and staff of Mahadev Online from Dubai to Zimbabwe. However, their plans encountered a roadblock in Zimbabwe as the local betting mafia and the Russian betting mafia, who are currently operating worldwide, did not allow them to establish their betting empire, ultimately leading to the failure of their plan. 

The government of Sri Lanka has strict laws to regulate sports betting, allowing only the state-run horse racing industry and declaring all other forms, including online betting, illegal. However, the unstable government and economic crises create an opportunity for the promoters of Mahadev Online Book to enter Sri Lanka. According to reliable sources, many associates of Mahadev betting promoters have visited Sri Lanka in recent months. However, the agency is uncertain whether this indicates a mere shift of the betting business module to Sri Lanka or the promoters also plan to relocate Dubai to Srilanka. It remains unclear if they will remain in Dubai or any other country and operate their business from there.

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