Visakhapatnam: Vizag police busted an illegal online betting casino and arrested nine people at Kirlampudi Layout Sripal Towers.
Police identified Kadhali Kishore as the prime accused of the betting racket. Police said he paid Rs.10 lakh as a deposit to the operators to get host services. Eight persons were employed by the prime accused to run the casino through network websites.
City police Chief Ch Srikanth said Kishore and his gang conducted online betting as per customer request. He said they used to manage customer credit and debit transactions and send bank acknowledgment receipts through WhatsApp. The modus operandi included luring customers through posts and advertisements on social media. On contacting the bookie through WhatsApp, a customer was given the list of websites and the amount that needs to be deposited for creating a login ID and password through UPI. Once the customer visited the site, bets will be placed and instant win/loss will be reflected in the customer's account.
Customers' profit was sent through UPI payments to their accounts. Interestingly, the app was designed in such a manner that it allowed the customer to win initially in small amounts and later lose in large amounts. Tasks were divided among the group of accused regarding sales, account opening, luring the customer, monitoring the customers, checking daily balance sheets, sending money to the customer, etc.
The accused earned 10 percent commission for the activities and the remaining 90 percent money was sent to the main bookie (gambling operator/host) to the accounts through WhatsApp. Police said it has been found that money has been sent to the main bookie through four accounts of the main accused. Police said it has been found that Rs 5.5 crore has been credited by his customers in the last three months. The investigation also revealed that 800 customers were involved in online betting through this bookie.
So far 10 FIRM accounts and 10 CURRENT bank accounts of the main accused Mahadev have been identified. These firm accounts have been traced to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Maharashtra. It has been confirmed that transactions of Rs 377.7 crore have taken place in the last 6 months in these firm accounts. The investigation also revealed that the Telegram channel of the main bookie has 87,500 members across India and they are suspected to be potential customers involved in online betting.
Visakhapatnam Police have frozen Rs 72 lakh in 10 accounts. Four laptops used for online beating, 16 mobile phones, 4 long notebooks, one electrical extension box-1, and one Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi router) router were seized from the accused. Inspector of Police of Three Town Police Station registered a case under Sections 3 & 4 of AP Gaming Amendment Act 2020 against the accused.
Police said online casino betting & gaming has been banned mainly in the states of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Police said strict action will be taken against those involved in such online casinos, betting & gaming activities as per law.