Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, hours after the Enforcement Directorate alleged that he received Rs 508 crore from the promoters of Mahadev betting app, said these are central government's attempt to discredit the popular Congress government in the state ahead of elections.
The Enforcement Directorate on Friday claimed that Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has received a total of ₹508 crore from the Mahadev betting app's promoters.
The Enforcement Directorate disclosed that it has obtained a statement from a "cash courier" who claims that the Mahadev betting app promoters have transferred Rs 508 crore to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, emphasising that it is a "subject of investigation".
ED's malicious attempt to tarnish my reputation: CM Baghel
Reacting to the allegations, the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister released a statement on social media and said, "As I've mentioned before, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aims to contest the Chhattisgarh elections with the support of agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax (IT), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Just before the elections, the ED made a malicious attempt to tarnish my reputation. This is a political maneuver to discredit the popular Congress government using the ED as a tool."
"Under the guise of an alleged investigation into the 'Mahadev app,' the ED previously conducted raids at the residences of my close associates to tarnish their image. Now, they have levied allegations of Rs 508 crore against me based on the statement of an unknown individual. It's worth noting that the statement mentions that the matter is subject to investigation. Releasing a press release based on one person's statement when the investigation hasn't concluded not only reveals the intentions of the ED but also exposes the complicity of the central government," CM Baghel added.
"Currently, elections are taking place in the state, and everything is under the control of the Election Commission. Apart from the police, the CRPF is conducting investigations. This raises questions about how such a significant sum of money is finding its way into Chhattisgarh. Is there any involvement of central agencies in this? Has this money not been delivered in those boxes that have been flown in with ED officials and security agencies aboard special flights?" Baghel asked.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are not even able to contest Congress in Chhattisgarh, so they want to contest the elections through investigative agencies."
Will continue to expose how ED operates: Baghel
Baghel went on to add, "I have openly spoken out against the ED and will continue to inform the public about how the ED operates. They first identify individuals and then threaten and intimidate them to extract names. They can go to any extent, including violence, intimidation, and fear tactics. This is commonplace."
"Congress is prepared, and every Congress worker is prepared. For the face-off against agencies like the ED and IT, the people of Chhattisgarh are with us," he said.
"We will fight, and we will win," the CM asserted.
ED carries out searches in poll-bound Chhattisgarh
On Thursday, the Enforcement Directorate carried out searches in Chhattisgarh targeting money laundering networks associated with the Mahadev online betting app, resulting in the confiscation of Rs. 5.39 crore in cash. Additionally, the agency intercepted a bank balance of Rs. 15.59 crore, which was subsequently placed under freeze.
“ED has conducted search operations on 2/11/2023 against the money laundering networks linked with Mahadev Book Online Betting APP in Chhatishgarh in which Cash of Rs. 5.39 Crore and Bank balance Rs. 15.59 Crore has been intercepted and frozen/ seized,” ED wrote on X.
The agency also posted pictures of cash seized during the raids.