A gambling app, a wedding with private jets and celebrity appearances, and assets worth crores — Sourabh Chandrakar’s extravagant lifestyle has caught the attention of Indian law enforcement. As investigations continue, we’re taking a closer look at the Dubai-based money laundering kingpin.
Enforcement Directorate (ED) — responsible for countering economic crime — has been probing into the popular Mahadev Online Book Betting App. In the process, cash and properties worth INR 417 crore have come to the fore. Not to mention, the potential involvement of several Bollywood actors and singers. At the heart of it all? 28-year-old Sourabh Chandrakar who — along with 43-year-old Ravi Uppal — is the main promoter of the online platform and has made about INR 5,000 crore from it, approxiately. He reportedly hails from Chhattisgarh’s Bhilai and runs operations from Dubai. Here’s everything you need to know about him and the case.
What is Sourabh Chandrakar’s app about?
Mahadev Online Book is a digital platform that allows one to bet on live games — poker, cricket, badminton, football, card games, and more. Some sources add that users can bet on different elections in the country as well. According to a report by CNBC TV 18, ED notes that people are lured through advertisements to play these games to earn profits, being given two separate numbers for depositing money and encashing points respectively.“Mahadev Online Book Betting App is an umbrella syndicate arranging online platforms for enabling illegal betting websites to enrol new users, create User IDs and launder money through a layered web of benami bank accounts.” Needless to say, this process is rigged such that users will lose money even with initial profits. This app began in 2017 and welcomed a jaw-dropping set of participants in 2020.
Chandrakar keeps 80 percent of the profits
ED has conducted searches against the money laundering networks linked with Mahadev APP in cities like Kolkata, Bhopal, Mumbai etc and retrieved large amount of incriminating evidences and has frozen/seized proceeds of crime worth Rs 417 Crore. pic.twitter.com/GXHWCmKOuY
— ED (@dir_ed) September 15, 2023
Sourabh Chandrakar’s career began with him selling juice in Chhattisgarh. Ravi Uppal, meanwhile, is an engineering graduate. The two were at first local bookies, moving to Dubai to start the app. They lured students, unemployed individuals, and farmers, amongst others with the promise of making quick cash. Many used UI, debit cards, bank transfers, and credit cards. Soon enough, this translated to skirting foreign exchange laws, money laundering, and tax evasion.
By using inactive or semi-active accounts to make transactions, Chandrakar evaded the attention of authorities. According to recent investigations — which involved informal couriers being raided in eight locations — a report by Firstpost notes about INR 417 crore in cash and properties were seized. Both Chandrakar and Uppal control the operation wholly and, as such, take in 80 percent of the profits.
He spent INR 200 crore on a wedding
These informal couriers were used to pay an event management firm towards a jaw-droppingly lavish wedding in Dubai recently. About INR 200 crore were spent on the endeavour, paid for entirely by cash. Free Press Journal notes that private jets were hired to bring family members from Nagpur to the UAE and celebrities from the film industry and dancers were paid to perform in cash as well. “Sudden and illegal riches are being openly flaunted by them,” the ED stated. This includes the likes of big names like Vishal Dadlani, Tiger Shroff, Sunny Leone, and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Many others have also promoted the platform, with video testimonials up on the official website. They’re likely to be called in for questioning soon.
All images: Courtesy The Economic Times/YouTube
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1.Who is Sourabh Chandrakar?
Sourabh Chandrakar is the promoter of Mahadev Online Book — an illegal digital platform that allows one to bet on live games like poker, cricket, badminton, football, card games, and more.
2.What is Mahadev gambling app?
Mahadev Online Book is a digital platform that promotes betting on live games like poker, cricket, badminton, football, and card games. Some sources add that users can bet on different elections in the country as well.
3.Is online gambling safe in India?
Gambling is illegal in India.