India’s leading illegal online gambling operator has been run to ground by the cyber wing of the Mumbai Crime Branch.
On Wednesday, Indian media reported that Mumbai police had arrested nine individuals, including Ramesh Chaurasia and his son Anchal. The two Chaurasias are directors of Game King India Pvt Ltd, which operates the gamekingindia.com and planetgonline.com gambling domains (both of which currently display generic Microsoft Windows Server screens, although the gamekingindia.biz domain will still get you where you want to go).
The elder Chaurasia was arrested over a year ago in the state of Madhya Pradesh for operating a network of videogame parlors and cyber cafés that covertly provided access to the illegal online gambling sites. Chaurasia had also been arrested in Mumbai in 2013 but eluded prosecution, allegedly due to his political connections.
The Press Trust of India quoted Akbar Pathan, deputy commissioner of Mumbai’s cyber police unit, saying that the Chaurasia’s operation required their retail customers to pay real money for virtual credits that could be used to gamble via the online sites.
In May, police in Delhi arrested the manager of a ‘Fun Point’ shop whose PlayStation units had been configured with betting software. The Chaurasia ring reportedly operated thousands of such shops across India, netting an annual $31m from their activities.
The Chaurasian operation had reportedly begun offering remote gambling services, with a network of land-based agents handling payments. However, the family’s software was also said to have been configured to eliminate the likelihood of having to pay out any significant winnings.
Pathan claimed that the two Chaurasias had been “constantly changing cities” to avoid detection by the authorities, even changing their vehicles after a certain distance traveled to further throw police off their scent.
Pathan said the Chaurasias would be held in police custody until July 5, implying that the dastardly duo might be released on bail afterward. It’s unclear why such a risk would be taken, given that the pair have amply demonstrated both the willingness and the capacity to evade justice on numerous occasions.