Over 30 celebs under ED scanner for attending parties in UAE, endorsing Mahadev Online Book's apps

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), probing the Mahadev Online Book (MOB) money laundering case, has identified more than 30 Bollywood celebrities, including several top personalities, who had attended the two programmes of the companies promoters in United Arab Emirates (UAE) in September last year and in February this year.

over, celebs, under, scanner, for, attending, parties, uae, endorsing, mahadev, online, book, apps, celebs-scanner-attending-parties-uae-endorsing-mahadev-online-books-apps | Over 30 celebs under ED scanner for attending parties in UAE, endorsing Mahadev Online Book's apps- True Scoop

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), probing the Mahadev Online Book (MOB) money laundering case, has identified more than 30 Bollywood celebrities, including several top personalities, who had attended the two programmes of the companies promoters in United Arab Emirates (UAE) in September last year and in February this year.

According to ED sources, the agency issued fresh summons to the MOB’s promoters, Saurabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal, both said to be based in UAE's Dubai, on the day it issued summons to comedian Kapil Sharma, actor Huma Qureshi and Heena Khan for questioning. The ED has also summoned Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor for questioning. 

The source said that over 30 celebrities, including from Bollywood, television industry and from south film industry, are likely to be summoned in the coming days by the financial probe agency to record their statement as witnesses in the case.

The source said that many of them had attended the success party of the MOB in September last year while several others attended the marriage party of Chandrakar in Dubai in February this year. 

The source said that these celebrities will be asked about the alleged payments given to them in lieu of attending the event organised at a hotel in Dubai in September 2022. 

The source said that after recording the statement of the celebrities who attended the events of MOB in UAE, the agency will verify their claims to decide if it needs to proceed against them or not. 

The source said that the agency has identified three to four group of celebrities who were attending the events, promoting their mobile gaming applications and also endorsing their products during the probe. 

The source said that the financial probe agency had found the details of the payments of hotels and transport details during the searches it carried out last month. 

It is alleged that the MOB spent around Rs 200 crore on the marriage ceremony programme in Dubai with private jets hired to ferry family members from Nagpur to the UAE.

The ED probe had also found that celebrities were hired to perform in the marriage. Wedding planners, dancers, decorators, etc, were hired from Mumbai and hawala channels were used to make payments in cash.

The ED said that as per the digital evidence gathered by it, Rs 112 crore was delivered via hawala to an events management company -- R-1 Events Pvt Ltd of Yogesh Popat -- and hotel bookings worth Rs 42 crore were done by paying in cash in AEDs. It also said that during the searches at the premises of Popat, Mithilesh and other linked organisers and evidence relating to receipt of Rs 112 crore hawala money was crystallised.

The ED has also successfully identified other major players involved in the money laundering operations of the MOB App.

"It was found that one Kolkata-based Vikash Chhaparia was handling all the hawala related operations for the Mahadev App," the agency said.

"ED conducted searches at his known premises and at his associates like Govid Kedia. It was found that with the help of Kedia, Chaparia through his entities -- Perfect Plan Investments LLP, Exim General Trading FZCO and Techpro IT Solutions LLC -- were investing heavily in Indian Stock market by way of Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) route," the agency said.

"Accordingly, cash derivative and other security holdings worth Rs 236.3 crore in the name of entities beneficially owned by Chhaparia have been frozen by ED under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).

The agency also said that assets worth Rs 160 crore in DEMAT holdings of Kedia have also been frozen by ED

The ED is probing MOB Betting App which is an umbrella syndicate arranging online platforms for enabling illegal betting websites to enroll new users, create user IDs and launder money through a layered web of benami bank accounts.

On September 15, the ED said that it seized Rs 417 crore after carrying out searches in Kolkata, Bhopal, Mumbai in connection with the case.

In a statement, the financial probe agency had said that the ED recently conducted widespread 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 or seized proceeds of crime worth Rs 417 crore.

source IANS


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