ED Freezes Assets Worth Rs 580 Cr Of Hawala-Operator In Mahadev Betting App Case

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has frozen proceeds of crime worth Rs 580 crore after raids earlier this week in the Mahadev app-linked money laundering case, official sources said on Friday.

Mahadev Online Book is an umbrella syndicate that facilitates illicit betting websites by enlisting new users, generating user IDs, and laundering money via an intricate network of undisclosed bank accounts.

Recent extensive searches carried out by the ED in Kolkata, Gurugram, Delhi, Indore, Mumbai, and Raipur have produced substantial outcomes. These include the recovery of cash totaling Rs 1.86 crore, valuables valued at Rs. 1.78 crore, and the detection/freezing of proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 580.78 crore. Additionally, these searches resulted in the confiscation of numerous pieces of incriminating evidence, including digital data and asset identification.

Subsequent investigations by the ED revealed that Hari Shankar Tibrewal, a hawala operator based in Dubai, as a significant figure linked to the promoters of Mahadev Online Book. Searches carried out at Tibrewal’s properties and those of his associates revealed his ownership and management of the illicit betting platform “skyexchange.” It was found that Tibrewal, operating through his Dubai-based entities, was channeling betting earnings into the Indian stock market using the Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) pathway.

Furthermore, he enlisted several associates as directors in multiple companies engaged in layering betting profits through stock market ventures and extensive hawala transactions. Consequently, security holdings valued at Rs 580.78 crores in entities owned by Tibrewal have been frozen by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002.

The ED commenced its investigation into the case following FIRs lodged by Chhattisgarh Police, with additional FIRs filed by Visakhapatnam Police and other states also factored in. It was also found that Mahadev Online Book operates from Dubai, offering “Panel/Branches” to associates on a profit-sharing basis of 70%-30%.

The primary promoters of Mahadev Online Book are implicated in numerous other online betting platforms like “Reddy Anna” and “Fairplay,” enabling extensive hawala operations for transferring betting earnings to offshore accounts.

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