Mahadev app scam: STF arrested offenders operating 4,000 SIMs in Rs. 6,000 crore fraud

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The Special Task Force (STF) apprehended two offenders allegedly involved in an online gaming scam. Among the arrested, one is the mastermind behind the entire operation and happens to be the cousin of a company’s India Head. Both accused individuals were actively engaged in sending SIM cards from India to Dubai, as revealed by STF officials.

The arrested individuals, identified as Abhay Singh and Sanjeev Singh, were caught from near Shaheed Path service road, opposite Summit building, in Vibhuti Khand, during an operation by the STF. Abhay Singh, a resident of Deoria, and Sanjeev Singh are believed to be linked to the Mahadev gaming application fraud, which has caused a financial loss estimated to be over Rs. 6000 crore.

As reported by Hindustan Times, the STF officials disclosed that information regarding the Mahadev App scam has been extracted from Abhay Singh subsequent to his arrest. They also informed that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been notified about the arrests and the information obtained from the accused.

The ED initiated an investigation into the matter under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in August 2023, prompted by multiple fraud and cheating cases reported since 2021, particularly in Chhattisgarh. Prior to the ED’s intervention, the Chhattisgarh police had made several arrests and seized assets related to the scam.

According to STF officials, the fraudsters involved the exploitation of online gaming platforms offering various card games and virtual sports. These platforms, including the Mahadev App, Reddy Anna Book, Fairplay, Lotus 365 and other apps were allegedly used for corrupt activities like match-fixing, money laundering through cryptocurrency, and manipulating games to ensure favorable outcomes for the operators at the expense of players.

Further investigation revealed that Abhay Singh, with the assistance of Sanjeev Singh, established fictitious companies to acquire corporate postpaid SIM cards, totaling over 4,000 since January 2023. These SIM cards were then dispatched to Mahadev App operators in Dubai after being ported to different telecom services.

STF officials elaborated that Abhay Singh had previously procured prepaid SIM cards using forged identity documents and had been supplying them to Mahadev App operators in Dubai since June 2021. His payment included a fixed salary of Rs. 25,000 along with incentives for each SIM card supplied, which was 500 per sim  amounting to a substantial monthly income.

Furthermore, it came to light that Abhay’s remuneration was raised to Rs. 75,000 monthly by the operators alongside the directive to secure postpaid corporate SIM cards, commencing in January 2023. This directive was accompanied by an incentive of Rs. 2,000 for each SIM card acquired. 

Moreover, it was disclosed that Abhay Singh’s cousin, Abhishek Singh, facilitated his connection with the operators based in Dubai. Additionally, Abhay Singh’s associate, Chetan Joshi, resident of Bhilai in Chhattisgarh, was identified as a key figure operating from Dubai.

The crackdown on the Mahadev application also led to the detention of one of the masterminds in Dubai following an Interpol red notice issued in October 2023. This individual, along with an associate originally from Bhilai, has been based in Dubai for nearly two years.

The investigation into Mahadev Online illegal betting operations has uncovered a network involved in unlawful gambling activities spanning various sports and events, including Indian elections. The ED’s probe has even extended to questioning individuals from political and entertainment spheres regarding their involvement in the scam.

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