Published On: Fri, Nov 3rd, 2023

Bhupesh Baghel got Rs 508 crore from betting app promoters: ED

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday claimed it recorded the statement of a ‘cash courier’ who alleged Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel received Rs 508 crore from the Mahadev betting app promoters based in the UAE. The ED’s statement comes days before Chhattisgarh goes to polls on November 7 and 17.

ED is investigating the Mahadev betting app syndicate

In a statement, the ED said it arrested a man named Asim Das, the ‘cash courier’, who was sent from the UAE “especially to deliver large amounts of cash for electioneering expenses of the ruling Congress” in Chhattisgarh.

The ED said it recovered cash worth Rs 5.39 crore from Asim’s car and his residence.

“From the questioning of Asim Das, and from the forensic examination of the phone recovered from him, and examination of an email sent by Shubam Soni (one of the high-ranking accused of Mahadev network) many startling allegations have come forth, namely, that regular payments have been made in the past and so far around Rs 508 crore have been paid by Mahadev APP promoters to Bhupesh Baghel, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh,” the ED said in a statement.

“Asim Das has admitted that the seized funds were arranged by the Mahadev app promoters to be delivered to one politician ‘Baghel’ for upcoming election expenses in state of Chhattisgarh,” the agency alleged in a statement.

However, the ED said that these allegations are “subject matter of investigation”.

A police constable, Bheem Yadav, has also been arrested during this seizure, it said.

Yadav, the ED claimed, unauthorisedly travelled to Dubai over the last three years and admittedly met Mahadev app promoters Ravi Uppal and Sourabh Chandrakar. He also allegedly participated in the gala functions of Mahadev app.

His travel expenses were borne by Rapid Travels of Ahuja Brothers- a money laundering and ticketing company of Mahadev app, the ED claimed. “He was the conduit to receive bribe money from Mahadev app promoters for the benefit of senior officers and politicians of Chhattisgarh,” the agency said.

Both Das and Yadav were produced before a special PMLA court in Raipur on Friday and the court sent them to seven days ED custody.

The ED is investigating the Mahadev betting app syndicate whose promoters are sitting abroad and remotely running thousands of panels across India with the help of their friends and associates, who are mainly from Chhattisgarh and have earned huge proceeds of crime.

The probe agency has arrested four people and seized proceeds of crime worth more than Rs 450 crore so far and has filed a prosecution complaint against 14 people.


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