The Indian Enforcement Directorate has cracked down on eight Nepalese agents accused of arranging a series of high-stakes gambling trips to Nepal. The trips were allegedly advertised with the help of Indian celebrities. The dealers were accused of violating the Foreign Exchange Management Act in Hyderabad’s capital, Telangana.
Authorities Seized Devices With Hawala Transactions
The crackdown was a result of the Directorate’s raids at eight dealer homes, farmhouses, and other properties belonging to Madhav Reddy, Praveen Kumar Chikoti, and six others. The property searches revealed several devices that had hawala transactions on them. These are money transfers that occur outside the standard banking system. They are considered illegal in India and they require at least two casino dealers to be completed. While gambling is legal in Nepal, the hawala transactions made by the dealers and players were outside the law. The dealers allegedly facilitated the transfer of players’ stakes at the casinos using these devices.
Gamblers Were Taken to Jhapa’s Casino Vegas by Big Daddy
The dealers are accused of allegedly persuading players to sign up for a number of organized trips from Hyderabad to Bagdogra by using the names of Indian celebrities. Bagdogra is a northern province in India located nearby the border with Nepal. Players were taken to the Casino Vegas by Big Daddy in Jhapa, 15 miles away from Bagdogra for a cost of ₹300,000 ($3,761) per traveler. The costs included the flights, accommodation at a hotel, meals, and entertainment.
Praveen Kumar “PC” Chikoti is best known for having an exuberant lifestyle that he often he displays on social media. In some of his posted videos, he is seen driving around with his pet python on his Range Rover. Both Reddy and Chikoti are also suspected of being allegedly involved in organizing the casino at the K Convention Centre in Gudivada during the Sankranti celebrations in January. The two are accused of helping set up around ten tables for the said casino with a minimum entering fee of 5,000 ($62).
The Directorate of Enforcement is a law enforcement agency that tackles economic regulations while battling economic crimes in the country. It belongs to the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance. The institution also recently seized one inland vessel, three vehicles that carried stone chips that were illegally mined, and two illegal stone crushers at the end of a raid conducted on July 25-26 in Jharkhand. In April, Meghalaya became the third state in India to pass a law that would legalize gambling in its jurisdiction. A the end of May, the country announced it was considering a 28% tax on online gambling.