After Mahadev, money laundering case against 8 betting apps over 2023 IPL matches

The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money-laundering case against eight betting apps, including the Fairplay app which was recently promoted by Bollywood personalities.

The ED case was registered based on a First Information Report (FIR) by the firm Viacom18, which mentioned the Fairplay app and other such apps that had illegally broadcast IPL tournaments on their streaming sites.

While the 2023 IPL tournament was going on and broadcasting rights were with Viacom18, apps like Fairplay were broadcasting it live through illegal software on their websites and platforms and were accepting bets on the current matches being played, the FIR mentioned.

Further, it said that the actors and singers who were under scanner allegedly promoted advertisements, asking people to watch IPL on such apps.

Fairplay not only used social media for promotion but had put up ads on trains, metros, and billboards across the city, it alleged.

Earlier in the Mahadev app case, an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate revealed how Bollywood personalities played a key role in the promotion of the app.

The investigations also revealed links between promoters of the apps and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s brother, Mushtaqeen. The probe revealed how even some politicians made thousands of crores illegally by duping innocent people into betting on the platform.

Bollywood rapper Badshah, whose witness’s statement was recorded by the Maharashtra cyber police last year in October, along with several other celebrities, were accused of promoting the betting app and urging viewers to tune in on the application to watch cricket matches.

The case also involved allegations related to digital piracy and violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

The Fairplay app is allegedly connected to the Mahadev Open Book (MOB) platform.

Earlier, the case was registered on April 20, 2023, based on a complaint lodged by Vinitchandra Sharma, vice-president of the legal department, at the Viacom 18 group.

The complainant had alleged that the matches were illegally streamed on Fairplay, and many celebrities had endorsed and promoted the betting application. Viacom18 owns several television channels and the OTT platform, VOOT.

Sharma complained to the cyber police that the accused online apps had shown Viacom 18’s content without acquiring legal rights, for monetary gains, thereby causing a loss to the company of over Rs 100 crore.

In October 2021, Viacom 18’s anti-piracy team found out that there were seven apps — Pikashow, Foxi, Vedu, Smart Player Lite app, Film Plus app, Tea TV app and Wow TV app, that were allegedly illegally showing serials, reality shows and other content being aired on Viacom 18 platforms.

The company’s anti-piracy team later found that from March 31, 2023, to April 7, 2023, the Fairplay app had also shown Tata IPL matches live illegally.

Published By:

Vani Mehrotra

Published On:

Jan 13, 2024

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