The agency suspects the Mahadev Online Book’s GST dues to be around INR 30,000 Cr, including interest and penalty accrued since 2018-19
Mahadev Online Book allegedly operated nearly 35 subsidiaries, including Fairplay, Anna Reddy and Lotus 35, illegally without obtaining any GST registration
Whenever an illegal betting platform came under the scanner of authorities, the operators of the illegal betting app would shut the said website and move the customers to another platform
The infamous Mahadev Online Book betting platform and its promoters are reportedly under the scanner of the Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) for alleged violation of GST rules and non-payment of taxes.
A senior official told The Economic Times that the agency suspects the platform’s pending GST dues to be around INR 30,000 Cr. As per the report, the amount also includes the interest and penalty accumulated since 2018-19 when the app was first floated.
The official reportedly said that Mahadev Online Book operated as many as 35 subsidiaries illegally without obtaining any GST registration. These included platforms such as Fairplay, Anna Reddy and Lotus 35.
Under the current rules, all domestic and overseas real-money gaming (RMG) platforms have to register with GST authorities and furnish timely data regarding their operations. The norms were introduced last year after the Centre amended the IGST Act last year and mandated online RMG platforms to register themselves under the tax regime.
Giving an insight into the Mahadev betting scam’s modus operandi, the source quoted above said that whenever a platform came under the scanner of authorities, it would shut the said website and move the customers to another platform.
“In 2022, when the Mahadev application came under the close scrutiny of the ED, the promoters started floating other applications. These applications since their commencement are operating illegally without any GST registration thereby causing massive revenue losses to the exchequer,” added the official.
The official further added that the Mahadev app, which is registered in the Netherlands and operates out of Dubai, is bound by law to foot the GST dues even though it was banned last year.
Another government official reportedly said that a surge has been witnessed in the advertisements by offshore betting platforms post October 1, when 28% GST on online gaming platforms came into effect.
“It was also found that post the October 1 notification on the 28% GST on RMG apps, there has been a sudden surge in the advertisements by offshore betting applications and subsidiaries on social media platform claiming that their platforms don’t attract any GST and the sum thus saved would be credited in the accounts of the customers,” the senior government official said reportedly.
He added that these ads have already been brought under the notice of DGGI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is currently probing the matter. The official further said that these platforms have roped in multiple social media influencers for the endorsement of their sites and to lure more users.
Amid all these, the ED continues its probe into the Mahadev betting scam. As per reports, Mahadev Online Book operated on the lines of a franchise-type model. The panel operators were reportedly tasked with the receipt and payment and management of coins for the assigned user-IDs.
If reports are to be believed, these subsidiaries would then transfer the proceeds of the crime to Mahadev operators via hawala channels. As per the ED, the alleged owners of Mahadev betting scam were raking in around INR 450 Cr per month through these apps.
The investigation into Mahadev betting platform is part of the larger crackdown on illegal offshore betting platforms. So far, nearly 100 such apps are under the scanner of various agencies for flouting norms.