In a decisive crackdown on illicit online gambling, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), India, has issued directives to shut down 22 unauthorized betting platforms, including names like Mahadev Book and Reddyannaprestopro.
The move of the betting apps ban follows thorough inquiries by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which unearthed an extensive network of illegal betting operations via mobile services in Chhattisgarh, India.
Mahadev Betting App Ban
As a result of the illegal betting apps ban, the owners of Mahadev Book have been arrested and are currently behind bars under Section 19 of PMLA.
They face allegations of money laundering as defined by Section 3, subsection (1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, with the corresponding penalties outlined in subsection (2) of the same section.
Under Section 69A of the IT Act, the Chhattisgarh Government has the authority to recommend the shutdown of websites or applications, according to the Union Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology.
The Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology has further clarified that, while the Chhattisgarh Government holds the authority to demand the closure of websites or apps under Section 69A of the IT Act, they have yet to exercise this right.
Union Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “Chhattisgarh Government had all the power to recommend shutting down of website/app under Sec 69A IT Act. However, they did not do so and no such request is made by the State Government while they have been investigating it for last 1.5 years. In fact, the first and only request has been received from ED and it has been acted upon. Nothing prevented Chhattisgarh Government from making similar requests,” reported PIB.
The Enforcement Directorate has evidence showing that prominent political leaders in Chhattisgarh gained financial benefits from the betting app scam.
Asim Das, a person involved in the Mahadev app scam, has confessed to transporting cash from the app’s management to be given to close associates of Chhattisgarh CM Bhoopesh Baghel.
Forensic and digital evidence retrieved from devices confiscated from Asim Das has corroborated his assertions, fueling suspicions of complicity among high-profile individuals in betting rings tied to organized crime.
Illegal Betting Apps Ban in India
These illegal betting app and website companies have been placed under various restraint orders, thereby exposing their malicious nature as well as calling into question their customers’ security and confidentiality.
These hidden websites are poorly supervised and could serve as a launching pad for cyber-criminality, including data loss.
“The ban on 22 illegal betting apps in India is crucial from the cybersecurity perspective. These apps could possibly have been involved in data exfiltration from foreign agencies. In the past, the Indian government has imposed bans on around 400 apps that had Chinese affiliations for trying to steal the personal data of Indian users,” Amit Lokhande, Associate Director for Research, Intelligence, and HAWK at Cyble told The Cyber Express.
Involvement of these apps in illicit business calls for caution when browsing online so as to avoid dodgy sites and choosing trusted ones. These actions seek not just to impede illegal poker but also to the prevention of personal data leakage and money loss.
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