EXCLUSIVE » Meet all the behind-the-screen movers of the betting app scandal—the man who handled India operations, the dirty cop who ensured security, the greaseball who bribed babus, and the hawala operator who moved the shady money around
Ravi Uppal, Managed India operation; Satish Chandrakar, Operations man; ChandraBhushan Verma Dirty cop
The charge sheet filed recently by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Mahadev app betting case has detailed the roles of the accused in operating the betting world both in India and abroad. The charge sheet sheds light on Sourabh Chandrakar’s management from Dubai and the other individuals involved in the betting app scam who were playing their roles seamlessly before the ED’s intervention. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) charge sheet has named 14 accused in the Mahadev betting app case, each having a designated role, with 9 listed as wanted.
Saurabh Chandrakar, the alleged kingpin
As per the ED, Chandrakar is the kingpin and promoter of the app, benefiting the most from the ongoing Rs 6,000 crore scam. The ED alleges that he has established a vast betting empire through extensive call centres, utilising closed groups on WhatsApp and Telegram, with the use of benami bank accounts for money transactions. His network allows him to operate from Dubai without needing to be physically present in India, primarily employing people from his home state of Chhattisgarh. He is also responsible for launching 60 offshore apps using servers based in Switzerland and call centres in Nepal, Sri Lanka and the UAE. He had employed thousands of people, along with multiple secretaries.
Mahadev app promoter Ravi Uppal’s Vanuatu passport
Uppal, listed as accused number two, is regarded as Chandrakar’s right-hand man and co-owner of the illegal Mahadev betting app. He oversees operations both in India and abroad, and has acquired assets in foreign countries. Uppal is the primary liaison with bureaucrats and politicians in Chhattisgarh, facilitating payments to ensure that no actions are taken against the app and its illicit activities. The ED suspects that he has invested in properties across UAE, London, Sri Lanka and Australia.
Vikas Chaparia Event handler; Anil Kumar and Sunil Kumar Damani Hawala brothers
Chaparia maintains a strong bond with both Chandrakar and Uppal. He was a part of Chandrakar’s illustrious R200 crore wedding guest list as a friend, handling payments for the Mahadev Online Book app and organising extravagant events in Dubai. Chaparia, previously a small-time share broker from Kolkata, has now heavily invested in the Indian stock market on behalf of Chandrakar and Uppal. The ED has frozen his current holdings in the market, amounting to around R236 crore. Like Chandrakar and Uppal, he has also acquired citizenship in Vanuatu, an Oceania country, and has been seen frequently with the app’s promoters. He is also absconding.
An assistant sub-inspector with Chhattisgarh Police, Verma, according to the ED, played a crucial role in ensuring the safety and protection of the app’s promoters from police and politicians in Chhattisgarh, where the betting business initially flourished. He acted as the primary link between Chandrakar and the state of Chhattisgarh, ensuring smooth operations and a significant share of profits, which were routed through hawala from Dubai. Verma distributed these profits among senior police officers and politicians, facilitating the Mahadev app’s rise to the top of the betting world. The ED discovered his close ties with Vinod Verma, political advisor to the Chhattisgarh CM, and noted that, with the financial power from Dubai, he managed to corrupt the entire police system in Raipur and Drug district, Chhattisgarh. Additionally, the ED found evidence of Verma purchasing multiple properties in the name of his family members since 2020.
He was in constant touch with Ravi Uppal in Dubai to discuss the daily operations of the betting apps. He also owns four panels of the Mahadev betting app and allows others to handle the same and share 5 per cent of the total profit from these panels. The ED also found that on behalf of Chandrabhushan Verma, he would deliver money to bureaucrats and politicians to ensure no action was taken against the betting apps.
Anil and Sunil Damani
The Damani brothers played a crucial role in facilitating the large-scale movement of funds through hawala transactions. The hawala money, sent from Dubai by Uppal and Chandrakar, would be received by the Damani brothers, who then passed it on to police agents and other recipients. Charging a fee of R100 per lakh, they are suspected to have facilitated the transfer of approximately R55-60 crore in hawala money for the Mahadev app promoters.
Vishal and Dheeraj Ahuja
As per the ED, the Ahuja brothers are responsible for managing the ticketing operations of the Mahadev app promoters, their families, business associates, and even the celebrities endorsing betting websites such as FairPlay.com and the Reddy Anna app. They were responsible for arranging travel for numerous events, including the annual star-studded event organised in the UAE in September this year. The ED also uncovered that the Ahuja brothers owned nine panels of FairPlay and Reddy Anna app, utilising various bogus bank accounts for transactions related to ticket bookings. Currently, both brothers are absconding and suspected to be residing in Dubai.
According to the ED, he is a close associate of the Ahuja brothers and was involved in providing details of bogus bank accounts to them, which were then used for transactions involving the betting amounts of the Mahadev app.
She is the mother-in-law of accused ASI Chandrabhushan Verma, who set up a firm called Aditya Trading Company in her name. During the investigation, it was revealed that the firm was purportedly involved in the trade of grain and rice, receiving substantial funds from rice millers for the sale of grains. Subsequently, it was discovered that these transactions were bogus, and the funds received in the company’s account were identified as proceeds of crime in the Mahadev app case.
Punaram, Shivkumar Verma
According to the ED, Punaram, the father of Chandrabhushan, and Shivkumar, his father-in-law, are partners in Shrijan Associated and were receiving proceeds of crime disguised as genuine trade payments.
Suspects who are currently in Dubai and who are yet to be interrogated
Gitesh Chandrakar: The brother of Sourabh Chandrakar, he oversees the operations of Mahadev Online Book along with him
Atul Agarwal: A partner in Mahadev Book who owns approximately 10 per cent of the business
Raja Gupta: Responsible for managing the distribution of the betting panel’s booking IDs.
Nitish Dhawan: Closely associated with Sourabh Chandrakar; entrusted with task of hiring Bollywood celebrities for various events related to Mahadev book.
Rohit Gulati: Coordinates with Indian panel operators and manages movement of funds through Hawala channels
Amit Shah: Handles accounting for Mahadev Book and oversees the investment of the proceeds of crime
Approx no of offshore apps launched by Chandrakar