The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a criminal complaint/indictment against two people for allegedly operating the “PP Poker Online Gaming App” and placing illegal bets and gambling, ED said Wednesday. The people against whom charges were brought were identified as Hardeep Singh and Ankur aka Rahul Khanna, both Kolkata residents.
Earlier on April 6, the ED had arrested Hardeep and Ankur under the terms of the Anti-Money Laundering Prevention Act (PMLA) 2002 and also searched their living quarters and other club managers and agents in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The latest indictment was filed on June 3 under the terms of the PMLA 2002 in a PMLA Special Court in Mapusa, Goa. The Special Court took note of this on June 17 and issued notices to the defendants.
ED initiated the money laundering investigation based on the first information report registered by the Goa Police under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 and 4 of the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act 1976 and Section 66-D of Goa the Information Technology Act, 2000 for illegal gambling activities and siphoning off vast amounts of money through clandestine networks, causing losses to the treasury.
ED’s investigation revealed that Hardeep and Ankur ran a union called “Mini-India” on said PP Poker’s online gaming app.
“As part of this association, it is observed that around 25 to 30 clubs are run by different people,” the ED said.
“Through these clubs, individual players are invited via WhatsApp chats to place illegal bets on the poker game app PP Poker. It can be seen that the 5 to 10 percent in commissions generated by these clubs at each table operated was by them,” ED said.
Settlement of the commission and bet amount is done illegally through hawala operators in cash or through anonymous crypto accounts with each individual player and union chairmen through their respective club managers, the agency said, adding: “The investigation found that Hardeep Singh and Ankur had too.” Proceeds of Crime (POC) invested in the form of crypto accounts tracked by ED”.
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