Ahmedabad, Aug 18 : A Chinese national collaborated with local partners to engineer a football betting app that ensnared approximately 1,200 people from northern Gujarat, inflicting a staggering loss of Rs 1,400 crore upon the victims within a mere nine-day span, said police.
The gravity of the operation spurred the Gujarat Police to assemble a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to unveil the mastermind behind the elaborate fraud.
The pursuit eventually pinpointed Woo Uyanbe, a resident of China’s Shenzhen region, as the central figure.
Allegedly, Uyanbe orchestrated the scam within the Patan and Banaskantha regions of Gujarat.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) first came across this intricate fraud in June 2022.
The discovery was triggered by a group of con artists operating under the app name ‘Dani Data’, targeting individuals in both Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
In response, the Uttar Pradesh Police initiated an inquiry that led to connections with individuals in northern Gujarat. Subsequent investigation unveiled that the Chinese national had been present in India between 2020 and 2022, interacting with locals in Patan and Banaskantha.
Allured by the promise of financial gains, Uyanbe and his Gujarat-based collaborators launched the deceptive app in May 2022. The application lured users with enticing prospects of substantial returns on bets placed within the app.
Astoundingly, Uyanbe managed to accumulate a staggering average of Rs 200 crore per day, casting a wide net that included individuals ranging from 15 to 75 years of age.
Capitalizing on the fervor surrounding football matches, the fraudulent app predominantly focused on these games as its platform for exploitation. However, after just nine days of operation, the app ceased to function, leaving victims to realize that their invested funds had vanished.
Following an extensive investigation, the CID’s cyber cell apprehended nine individuals who were connected to the case. These individuals were allegedly aiding Uyanbe in routing money through hawala networks.
Utilizing shell companies, they facilitated the movement of funds in a complex web of deceit. However, by the time the Gujarat Police swung into action by filing an FIR for cheating and IT Act violations in Patan in August 2022, the mastermind behind the scheme had vanished.
Uyanbe had managed to exit India and return to China, eluding any potential legal actions against him.
Despite ongoing efforts, the CID has yet to amass sufficient evidence against Uyanbe, stalling the extradition process.
Sources within the police department have indicated that the mastermind remains active, operating a network in regions such as China’s Shenzhen, China, Hong Kong as well as Singapore.
In March, the CID filed a charge sheet pertaining to this intricate case, marking a significant step in the ongoing investigation.