In Chhattisgarh, ahead of parliamentary elections, BJP released a video claiming that Shubham Soni is one of the accused in the Mahadev betting app case. Which is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate. In this video, Soni has claimed that it has given Rs 508 crore to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel so far. At the same time, Shubham Soni also claimed that he is the owner of Mahadev App. To which Bhupesh Baghel said he had made many appeals to ban the Mahadev app and issue an LOC against its promoters. However, one of the accused came forward with a video statement claiming that the Chief Minister himself had asked him to flee to the UAE.
Shubham Soni, wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case related to the Mahadev alpha, founded the company in 2021 and betting was his business. Eventually many people got arrested in this scam and the promoter Soni wanted some security and assurance of his safety. He approached CMO, he was then contacted by a person named Verma, who demanded a security deposit of Rs 10 lakh per month. Soni started paying this amount of Rs 10 lakh per month. Even after paying demanded money his people were getting arrested, he approached Verma. Verma arranged Soni’s meeting with high profile people. Those days Verma took him to the Chief Minister. In the video he can be heard saying that I have given my written statement to the ED. The Mahadev App scam is thought to have involved a huge sum of money, estimated to be approximately Rs 5,000 crore. Shubham Soni, an accused in the Mahadev Book betting app case, claims that he had the “proof” of paying Rs 508 crore to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
The Mahadev app is an online betting platform that operates illegally and launders the money. The app receives money from the users who are not located in India. Mahadev Online Book (MOB) operates from UAE headquarters, it also has various branches in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. The app makes money by franchising “Panel/Branches” to its known associates at a profit margin of 70-30 per cent. Mahadev Book Online Betting App syndicate in which the promoters of this betting syndicate are based abroad and remotely running thousands of panels across India with the help of their friends and associates who are mainly from Chhattisgarh and have earned thousands of crore of proceeds of crime. It allegedly creates IDs, enrols new users, and launders money through a tiered network of Benami bank accounts utilizing the online book betting program. Many celebrities endorse these betting entities and do promotional work in return for hefty fees.
As of now, as many as 34 Bollywood celebrities including actors, singers, dancers etc. have come under the Enforcement Directorate ED scanner in connection with the scam. Sonu Sood, Sonakshi Sinha, Malaika Arora and Amit Trivedi are some of the names. Another agent of this app was allegedly sent by the app promoters from the UAE “especially, to deliver large amounts of cash for electioneering expenses of the ruling Congress Party”.
Police say that Chandrakar and Uppal are natives of Bhilai but have moved to Dubai. Chhattisgarh Police has issued a lookout notice against them. Chandrakar and Uppal, who run the Mahadev betting app, have denied the allegations of match-fixing. On November 6, the Mumbai Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court directed the police to initiate the case following repeated complaints by social activist Prakash Banker. The social worker had alleged fraud of Rs 15,000 crore through the app since 2019. An FIR was registered under Maharashtra Gambling Prevention and IPC.
According to Prakash’s complaint, the syndicate had ‘manipulated’ the cricket matches. Of the 32 names in the complaint, at least five are associates of Chandrakar, who are working to ‘fix’ matches from different parts of the country and the Middle East. The complaint states that they operate through ‘Khiladi App’ and other portals, earning crores per day, which is distributed through Hawala, a bitcoin wallet. Mahadev Books application can be downloaded on mobile. App provides platforms for illegal betting in virtual games like poker, teen Patti, and real games like IPL, Cricket, Soccer, Hockey etc. Initially, this app didn’t make any profit but everyone gets their time. Saurabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal got their time in 2020 Covid was a nightmare for most people but for many it proved a jackpot. When everyone was locked inside homes and was stressed this Mahadev app proved a good time for people. Their app became a major hit during Covid time.
All the virtual games hosted by the app’s platforms were rigged in a manner that the owners do not lose money. Even though users made initial profits, whose payments were done using Benami bank accounts, ultimately, they incurred losses once they got addicted.
The next phase of the Business model was – Expansion. They started to roll out franchise owners who were called Panel Owners. They are people sitting in India and their job is to market the app, and add more and more people to the app. Profit was shared between them in 80:20 ratios. Saurabh and Ravi sitting in Dubai had 80% and the Panel agents sitting in India got 20%. Most of the panel agents were from Chhattisgarh. For using the app, one will have to obtain a user ID and password, which are typically owned by people associated with the app. These user IDs were sold for a hefty sum costing up to thousands of rupees. Once acquired, users can engage in online betting activities through the app. All financial transactions are channelled through bank accounts or online transactions. All the communication happens via WhatsApp. The application also provides online casino and betting platforms- activities that are illegal in India or operate under strict supervision of the government. Sourabh Chandrakar who earlier worked as a juice vendor and his associate Ravi Uppal are the founders of this application and the duo currently resides in Dubai. Interested to see, will this app controversy give a jackpot to the BJP in Chhattisgarh or not.