ED Investigates Betting App Promoter in 200 Crore UAE Wedding Case

Sourabh Chandrakar, who is known for promoting a betting app and hails from Bhilai, is facing allegations in a money laundering case. It’s claimed that he spent a staggering Rs 200 crore in cash on his extravagant wedding, which featured private jets and performances by celebrities. In connection with the betting syndicate, the Enforcement Directorate has taken control of assets worth Rs 417 crore, which were tied to investments in the Indian stock markets using the proceeds from illegal activities.

ED Investigates Betting App Promoter in 200 Crore UAE Wedding Case

There’s a story about a lesser-known person named Sourabh Chandrakar, who’s known for promoting a betting app. Recently, he hosted a grand wedding celebration that caught everyone’s attention. The cost of this extravagant event was estimated to be more than Rs 200 crore, and what’s intriguing is that all of it was paid in cash. This information comes from an investigation conducted by the Enforcement Directorate, and they shared these details on a Friday.

This investigation has put Sourabh Chandrakar in the company of well-known figures like steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal and India’s wealthiest businessman Mukesh Ambani.

The Enforcement Directorate has found that money obtained from illegal betting activities has been used to invest in the Indian stock market through the foreign portfolio investments (FPIs) channel. As a result of their investigation, assets, including shares, worth Rs 417 crore have been confiscated by the agency.

Sourabh Chandrakar and his partner Ravi Uppal, who are originally from Bhilai in Chhattisgarh, are the founders of the Mahadev App. They run a sophisticated betting operation from their base in Dubai.

In February of this year, Sourabh Chandrakar held his own wedding in RAK, which is the sixth largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). For this lavish celebration, he spent a staggering Rs 120 crore. He used this money to pay the wedding planner, hire private jets to transport family members from Nagpur, and bring in celebrities for performances. Additionally, he arranged for sets and decorations from Bollywood to make the event even more extravagant. It’s worth noting that all these payments were made in cash through illegal hawala channels, as stated by the Enforcement Directorate.

Based on the digital evidence that was confiscated, the Enforcement Directorate revealed that an amount of Rs 112 crore was transferred through illegal hawala channels to an event management company known as R-1 Events Pvt Ltd, owned by Yogesh Popat. Additionally, hotel bookings totaling Rs 42 crore were made by paying in cash using UAE Dirhams (AEDs).

As part of its money laundering investigation into the Mahadev App betting syndicate, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out searches at 39 different locations in cities like Raipur, Bhopal, Kolkata, and Mumbai. These searches even extended to the residences of two Officer on Special Duty (OSD) personnel and a political advisor associated with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. The political aides connected to Baghel are facing allegations of receiving substantial kickbacks in exchange for providing protection to the accused individuals involved in the case. So far, the agency has arrested a total of 15 individuals in connection with this investigation.

As per the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Mahadev Online Book Betting App operates as an overarching organization that sets up online platforms to facilitate illegal betting websites in onboarding new users, generating user IDs, and engaging in money laundering through a complex network of anonymous bank accounts.

The information regarding the betting syndicate, which involves an Assistant Sub-Inspector rank officer collaborating with high-ranking government officials and political figures on behalf of the masterminds in Dubai, emerged following the investigative searches conducted on event organizers, travel agencies, and hawala operators responsible for managing cash transfers both within India and to international destinations.

Rapid Travels, based in Bhopal and run by Dheeraj and Vishal Ahuja, handled all the ticketing arrangements for the celebrities and family members who were flown to Dubai for the event. Meanwhile, Vikas Chhaparia, based in Kolkata, served as the primary conduit for all illicit cash transactions, often with the assistance of other close associates connected to the Mahadev App promoters.

During its investigation, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out searches at the residences or offices of both Vikas Chhaparia and his associate Govid Kedia. It was discovered that their businesses, namely Perfect Plan Investments LLP, Exim General Trading FZCO, and Techpro IT Solutions LLC, made substantial investments in the Indian stock markets using the Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) route, as per the agency’s findings.

In line with this, assets such as cash derivatives and other securities valued at Rs 236 crore, held by entities that ultimately belong to Vikas Chhaparia, have been placed under freeze as part of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Additionally, assets amounting to Rs 160 crore in DEMAT holdings belonging to Kedia have also been frozen, as confirmed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

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