New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is turning its spotlight on 17 Bollywood celebrities who attended a lavish Dubai wedding earlier this year. Sourabh Chandrakar, the alleged kingpin behind the Mahadev gambling app, reportedly spent a staggering ₹200 crore on his nuptials.
Now, the ED is investigating whether a significant portion of these funds went to Bollywood attendees who may be summoned for questioning. Among the notable names mentioned are Tiger Shroff, Sunny Leone, and singer Neha Kakkar. The backdrop of this investigation is a sprawling ₹5,000 crore money laundering case involving Sourabh Chandrakar and his business partner, Ravi Uppal, who are accused of operating the online gambling app from Dubai.
The Bollywood-Mahadev Gambling App Connection: What We Know
1. Key Suspects: Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal, originally from Chhattisgarh, are the prime suspects in the money laundering case.
2. Lavish Dubai Party: According to ED sources, Chandrakar hosted another extravagant event in Dubai on September 18, 2022. Several Bollywood stars were reportedly paid ₹40 crore to attend this affair at a seven-star luxury hotel.
3. The February Wedding: For Chandrakar’s wedding in February, private jets were chartered to transport family members from Nagpur to Dubai. Notably, Bollywood celebrities, wedding planners, dancers, and decorators were all flown in from Mumbai.
4. Star-Studded Performances: The wedding featured performances by renowned artists, including Atif Aslam, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Ali Asgar, Vishal Dadlani, Elli AvrRam, Bharti Singh, Bhagyashree, Kriti Kharbanda, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Krushna Abhishek, and more.
5. Late-Starting Investigation: The investigation into Mahadev Online Betting began in December of the previous year, with the connection to Bollywood emerging more recently.
6. Mahadev Online Betting: The application has been used for betting by nearly a million individuals in the past year and operates from approximately 30 centers. However, its promoters are now based in Dubai, where betting is legal.
7. Bollywood Advertising: Some Bollywood personalities were featured in YouTube advertisements promoting the Mahadev Online Book app, although the ED has not officially disclosed their names.
8. Asset Seizures: In a recent development, the ED confiscated assets valued at ₹417 crore in connection with the case from various locations, including Bhopal, Mumbai, and Kolkata.
9. Modus Operandi: The betting site used various aliases in India to evade the ban on betting activities.
10. Sourabh Chandrakar’s Background: Chandrakar, believed to be in his early twenties, was previously a juice vendor in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh.
As the ED delves deeper into this high-profile case, the involvement of Bollywood luminaries adds another layer of intrigue to an already complex investigation.