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Updated January 6th, 2024 at 13:01 IST

Mumbai Police SIT makes first arrest in Mahadev Betting App case

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Mumbai Crime Branch has made the first arrest in the ₹15,000 crore Mahadev Book Betting App case.

Sandip Singh
First Arrest in Mahadev Betting App by Mumbai Police SIT
the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Mumbai Crime Branch has made the first arrest in the high-profile ₹15,000 crore Mahadev Book Betting App case | Image:ANI
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Mumbai: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Mumbai Crime Branch has made the first arrest in the high-profile ₹15,000 crore Mahadev Book Betting App case. Following a court order last year, the Matunga Police had registered an FIR, leading to the case being transferred to the Mumbai Crime Branch for further investigation. Subsequently, a SIT was formed to delve into the intricate details of the case.

The arrested individual has been identified as Dixit Kothari, a 27-year-old, believed to be the main operator of the illicit betting application named "Lotusbook 08." 

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According to Mumbai Police Crime Branch officials, Kothari's email ID was instrumental in obtaining the domain, with approximately Rs 20 lakh spent on its maintenance over the past two years. Despite the ban on betting in India, Kothari exploited legal loopholes by registering the website on a foreign domain and facilitating betting activities within the country.

Sources close to the Mumbai Police revealed that Kothari, who led a relatively low-key life, operated a small mobile shop before venturing into the betting app business. Upon his arrest in the Mira Bhayandar area near Mumbai, Kothari claimed to have lost all the invested money. The SIT is actively probing the money trail associated with him, and Kothari has been granted 7 days of custody for further interrogation.

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The initial FIR, based on a complaint by Prakash Bankar, implicated over 30 individuals, including Bollywood actor Sahil Khan, Saurabh Chandrakar, Ravi Uppal, and others. The Enforcement Directorate, the primary investigating agency, had already filed chargesheets in the matter.

Notably, Saurabh Chandrakar, a juice seller from Chhattisgarh settled in Dubai, is alleged to be the mastermind behind the betting app case. The ED's supplementary chargesheet disclosed details of non-bailable warrants and a Red Corner Notice issued by Interpol against Chandrakar and co-accused Ravi Uppal.

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The chargesheet also implicates former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel, raising eyebrows and adding a political dimension to the already complex case. The Enforcement Directorate, in its chargesheet, has disclosed significant legal actions taken which read, “Following an application by the ED, the Hon'ble Special Court, PMLA, Raipur, issued an open-ended Non-Bailable Warrant on September 4, 2023, against Mr. Sourabh Chandrakar and Mr. Ravi Uppal, compelling their arrest and appearance before the court. Subsequently, an Interpol Red Notice was issued for both individuals, published by the INTERPOL Secretariat General in Lyon, aiming to facilitate their apprehension.”

Further details in the chargesheet indicate that, in accordance with Interpol Red Corner Notice No. A-10277/11-2023 dated November 8, 2023, Mr. Ravi Uppal was successfully arrested in the UAE. The Enforcement Directorate received communication confirming this development through the National Central Bureau (NCB), Abu Dhabi, UAE, in a letter dated December 12, 2023.

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The legal proceedings and the unfolding investigation promise to shed light on the intricate web of actions that led to the issuance of warrants, Red Notices, and the subsequent arrest of one of the accused in the UAE.

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Published January 6th, 2024 at 13:01 IST

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