The Indian Wire had earlier reported that ED had raided several locations and had arrested three persons in connection with a gambling and gaming racket via Chinese online betting applications.
The Hyderabad Police had arrested Dhiraj Sarkar, Ankit Kapoor, and Yan Hao in connection with the case. Hao is a Chinese national who had refused to make any statement to the police on earlier occasion. Entire operation seems to have been based out of India, in China.
In connection with the above case, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act Special Court in Hyderabad has granted additional custody of the three arrested accused persons.
The additional custody that has been granted is of 8 days and ED has been granted the custody over said money laundering suspicions.
The investigation was initiated by ED under Telangana Gaming Act, Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 120 (B) IPC (punishment of criminal conspiracy).
ED had earlier in its raid frozen four bank accounts containing Rs 46 crore approximately. The gambling racket is suspected to be worth over Rs 1000 crores.
ED has launched a probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as the online betting scam seems to operate with the help of Indian Chartered Accounts who incorporate companies in India, later to be taken over by Chinese bosses and directors.
The police have been informed that the victims were targeted through closed conversation platforms such as messenger, telegram etc. and were trained to invest in gambling.
Anjani Kumar, IPS Commissioner of Police Hyderabad City had issued statement earlier that, “the entire technical operation is run by the China-based directors/partners of these companies. The payments were being routed through India based payment service providers/gateways. It is understood from the investigation so far that the companies are controlled through a firm called Beijing T Power Company based out of China. The total value of the inward transaction on the two accounts traced so far is nearly Rs. 1100 Crores, a majority of which is in the year 2020. Most of the remittances have been transferred to different other accounts which are being traced and some of the accounts are overseas. As of now, the total known overseas remittances is nearly Rs. 110 crore. The group was planning to register a company in the Cayman Islands”.
As reported by India Today (September 22, 2020), the statement of ED officials was, “Accused floated large number of websites to attract gullible persons to become members and to place bets on various online APPs which promised attractive rewards on simple games of chance. Paytm and Cashfree were used to collect money and pay commission to all these agent members. Hundreds of websites were created to promote online betting under the garb of e-commerce. Earlier, searches were conducted by the Directorate at 15 locations in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Pune which resulted in seizure of 17 Hard disks, 5 laptops, phones and crucial incriminating documents. ED has also frozen Rs 46.96 Crore held in 4 Accounts in HSBC Bank,” officials said.