The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a prosecution complaint/charge sheet against two people for allegedly operating “PP Poker Online Gaming App” and placing illegal bets and gambling, ED said on Wednesday. The persons who have been charge-sheeted were identified as Hardeep Singh and Ankur alias Rahul Khanna, both the residents of Kolkata.
Earlier on April 6, the ED had arrested Hardeep and Ankur under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 and also conducted searches on their residential premises as well as other club managers and agents situated in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. The recent charge sheet was filed before a special PMLA court in Goa’s Mapusa on June 3, under the provisions of PMLA, 2002. The Special Court had also taken cognizance of the same on June 17 and issued notices to the accused persons.
ED initiated the money-laundering investigation on the basis of the First Information Report registered by the Goa Police under various sections of the India Penal Code and Sections 3 and 4 of Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976 and Section 66-D of the Information Technology Act, 2000 for illegal gaming activities and siphoning huge money through secret networks and thus causing loss to the exchequer of the government. The investigations by ED revealed that Hardeep and Ankur were operating a union namely ‘Mini-India’ on the said PP Poker online gaming app.
“Under this union, it is observed that around 25 to 30 clubs are being operated by different individuals,” said the ED. “Through these clubs’ individual players are invited through WhatsApp chats for placing illegal bets through poker gaming app PP Poker. It is seen that the commissions were generated at the rate of 5 per cent to 10 per cent by these clubs on each table being run by them,” ED said.
The settlement of the commission and the betting amount is done illegally through hawala operators in cash or through anonymous crypto accounts with each individual player and union head by their respective club managers, said the agency, adding “the investigation has revealed that Hardeep Singh and Ankur had also invested Proceeds of Crime (POC) in the form of crypto accounts which were traced by ED”.