Mahadev betting app support centre functioned from rural area to evade police action - Hindustan Times
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Mahadev betting app support centre functioned from rural area to evade police action

May 19, 2024 07:48 AM IST

Mahadev betting app services functioned from BPO allegedly orchestrating support to the illegal activity and located within rural locales of Pune district to evade police scrutiny

Pune: The Pune rural police have found that illegal activity of Mahadev betting app was carried out under the garb of business process outsourcing (BPO)-like operations in Narayangaon. The call centre was facilitating payment gateway services for operating from rural parts of Pune, purportedly supporting Mahadev and Lotus 365 apps. The centre was dealing with money transactions throughout the country and managing the illegal betting operations. Officials said that a forensic audit will reveal the huge transactions carried out by the apps.

Mahadev betting app services functioned from BPO allegedly orchestrating support to the illegal activity and located within rural locales of Pune district to evade police scrutiny. ((PIC FOR REPRESENTATION))
Mahadev betting app services functioned from BPO allegedly orchestrating support to the illegal activity and located within rural locales of Pune district to evade police scrutiny. ((PIC FOR REPRESENTATION))

The probe has unearthed a sophisticated network facilitating the operations of Mahadev betting platform, known for its involvement in unlawful betting and gambling activities. The call centre, allegedly orchestrating support services for the illegal app, was located within rural locales of Pune district to evade police scrutiny.

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Pankaj Deshmukh, superintendent of police, Pune rural, said, “Accused could have easily set up a call centre in any city area, but we think that they might have preferred rural areas to avoid police action. The exact reason will be revealed after detailed investigation.”

The police chief said that three prime accused, including Rutvik Kothari, Raj Bokaria and Salman Mirajar alias Pathan, hail from Junnar-Narayangaon area and hence might have picked the locality to operate.

Police officials said that the trio was running their BPO services from Hadapsar, Undri and other locations in the past. They used to regularly change location of operation to evade police action.

“Even after the police raid, their payment services are working. If you click on the link and follow the process, then payment will be done. It means that they are operating from other locations as well.” said Deshmukh.

On May 15, a team of Pune rural police raided Galaxy Vision Complex, a three-storied building in Narayangaon in Pune district, and arrested 93 individuals and detained three minors. Police seized 45 laptops, 89 mobiles, 101 mobile phones used by the accused, 452 bank passbooks, cheque books and other equipment totally worth 62.74 lakh. At least 88 arrested persons who were working at the office have been sent to magistrate custody, according to the police.

Kunal Sunil Bhat, 28, and Sameer Yunus Pathan, 25, from Jalgaon; Rashid Kamal Sharif Pulla, 28, and Amjad Khan Sardan Khan, 32, from Uttar Pradesh; and Yash Rajendra Singh Chauhan, 27, from Rajasthan were handling the operations of the BPO unit.

Prime accused Kothari, Bokaria and Pathan were working as a franchise unit of Mahadev betting app in Pune.

Police probe found that Bhat, Pathan, Pulla, Khan and Chauhan used to regularly visit Dubai.

The Narayangaon police station has filed a case under Sections 420, 464, 465, 467, 468, 471 of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 4, 5 of the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act and Section 66 C of the Information Technology Act.

The Mahadev betting app case is an online platform used for illegal gambling on games like cricket and football. Run by Saurabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal from Dubai, the illegal operation has led to many raids and arrests.

Cyber security expert Rohan Nyayadhish said, “Betting through online gaming apps is a serious issue and the consumer affairs ministry should take a strong stance on it. These apps are preying on vulnerable individuals, and the CCPA (Central Consumer Protection Authority) should implement stricter regulations to protect consumers and address their concerns. The ministry is supporting Bengaluru’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans) to conduct a study on disruptive impulse control behavioural patterns of online gaming that may cause vulnerabilities. The findings of the research will be used to frame guidelines for protecting consumers in online gaming.”

How does it work?

Online betting platforms advertise contact details over websites and lure people to play to earn profits. Once a user contacts the given number, he/she will be provided two separate contact numbers — one for depositing money and collecting points in user IDs used to make bets and second for contacting the website to encash the accumulated points in designated IDs. Mahadev Online Book operations not only maintained websites and closed chat groups, but also tried to lure people into illegal betting.

The IDs are generally created on multiple websites. All games are rigged in a manner that over all the panel owners will not lose money and despite initial profits to users, ultimately, the latter are likely to lose huge sums.

The Mahadev Book App operates through several websites that advertise contact numbers on portals to entice people into betting. It provides platforms for illegal betting on live games such as poker, card games, cricket, badminton, tennis and football in India.

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