Hyderabad: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has frozen Rs 46.96 crore held in four bank accounts in connection with Prevention of Money Laundering Act case booked by it based on FIRs lodged by Cyber Crime Station (CCS) of Hyderabad Police who busted an online betting racket with Chinese roots recently.
The ED has conducted searches at 15 locations spread across Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Pune under the provisions of PMLA in a case related to illegal betting. Searches were conducted on the registered offices of the companies, their directors and chartered accountants involved in illegally running online betting apps from websites which are hosted from outside India.
During searches, the ED seized 17 hard disks, five laptops, phones, crucial incriminating documents and froze Rs 46.96 crore held in four bank accounts, according to a press release.
The Hyderabad Police booked a case under Sections 420 and 120B of IPC, Section 3(1)(i) of Telangana State Gambling Act 2017, Prize Chits & Money Circulation Scheme Act against Dokypay Technology Private Limited and Linkyun Technolgy Private Limited and others.
The police arrested three persons – Yan Hao, 24, working as Manager of Beijing Tomorrow Power Company, Beijing, Dhiraj Sarkar and Ankit Kapoor and the suspects were found to be adopting a novel modus operandi for doing online betting scam. During investigation it is revealed that with the help of some Indian Chartered Accountants, some Chinese nationals floated multiple Indian Companies.
Initially dummy Indian Directors were used to incorporate the companies and after some time, Chinese nationals travelled to India and took Directorship in these companies. Some locals were hired and used to open bank accounts with bank and open trade accounts with online wallets namely Paytm, Cashfree, Razorpay etc.
Once bank accounts were opened, the internet access credentials were couriered by the Indian employees to China and major payment instructions came from the beneficial owners who were safely ensconced in China.
Accused companies floated a large number of similar looking websites which were hosted through Cloudfare, USA and attracted gullible persons to become members and to place bets on various online apps which promised attractive rewards on simple games of chance.
Further, a network of agents were hired to attract new customers or members. These agents created closed Telegram and WhatsApp based groups and attracted lakhs of gullible Indians. Hundreds of websites were created to promote online betting under the garb of e-commerce.
All the websites were not activated daily. Some were activated for placing bets and the information on daily active websites was shared to members using Telegram groups. During the course of search, the ED has identified multiple bank accounts.
Analysis of two bank accounts of Dokypay Technology Private Limited revealed that, in the last year, the account has seen collection of Rs.1268 crore out of which Rs.300 crore came via Paytm payment gateway and around Rs.600 crore was transferred out via Paytm payment gateway.
Account analysis of Linkyun Technolgy revealed a similar pattern. It is also revealed that outward foreign remittances for payments to the extent of Rs.120 crore from these accounts. Large unexplained financial transactions are also seen with other Indian companies who are running online Chinese dating APPs for Indian customers.
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