The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has significantly escalated its inquiry into the Mahadev betting app scandal, summoning four additional Bollywood celebrities for questioning. The latest personalities summoned for interrogation are actress Shraddha Kapoor, comedian Kapil Sharma, and actors Huma Qureshi and Hina Khan.
The Mahadev betting app, reportedly overseen by Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal, both based in Dubai, is alleged to have facilitated illegal betting on various online games. The ongoing investigation primarily centers on the app's potential involvement in money laundering.
Shraddha Kapoor, the most recent addition to the list of those summoned, has been requested to appear before the ED on October 8. Previously, Ranbir Kapoor was summoned and questioned to ascertain his knowledge of the case, particularly regarding the funds he may have received for endorsing the app. Following Ranbir Kapoor, other celebrities such as Kapil Sharma, Huma Qureshi, and Hina Khan were called in for a similar purpose.
According to an announcement by the news agency ANI, "ED has summoned comedian Kapil Sharma and actor Huma Qureshi in connection with the Mahadev betting app case." Actress Hina Khan's name has also been linked to the case by News18.
It is anticipated that this list of summoned individuals may expand, with numerous other figures from the entertainment industry potentially being called in for questioning. Several of these celebrities, including Shraddha Kapoor, Tiger Shroff, and Sonakshi Sinha, are believed to be connected to the case due to their association with events organized by the app's chief, Sourabh Chandrakar.
Earlier reports from the media noted that Ranbir Kapoor was summoned to ascertain his awareness of the case and to determine if he had any knowledge about the source of the money he received for promoting the Mahadev app.
A report from News18 indicated that the agency has also asked the actor to appear at their office in Raipur, Chhattisgarh on October 6.
Ranbir Kapoor's questioning is considered crucial to understand the financial transactions related to the betting business. At this point, he has not been summoned as an accused, but his insights into the sources of the funds he received are vital to shed light on the promoters' intentions and their connections, according to an ED source closely involved in the developments.
The source also emphasized, "Ranbir Kapoor may not be part of a conspiracy, but it is very important to understand the scam."
Last month, the ED seized and froze assets worth INR 417 Crores in connection with the Mahadev app after conducting searches at multiple locations in Mumbai, Bhopal, and Kolkata.
The ED's investigation revealed that the Mahadev app was operated from Dubai and used an online book betting application to recruit new users and launder money through a network of benami (anonymous) bank accounts. The app's two promoters, Chandrakar and Uppal, previously ran a juice and tire shop in Bhilai. They established the Mahadev app in the UAE after collaborating with an unnamed sheikh and a Pakistani national. The duo reportedly generated up to INR 200 Crores per day through the scam, which involved money laundering via a network of thousands of benami accounts.
The scandal initially gained attention with Chandrakar's INR 200 Crore wedding in the UAE, leading to the scrutiny of several Bollywood celebrities for their alleged links to the scheme.