ANI Photo | “BJP most scared of me” says Chhattisgarh CM Baghel as ED links him to betting app deal

Facing heat over an alleged Rs 508 crore deal with Mahadev app promoters, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Saturday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party is scared of him the most that’s why it is defaming him through the Enforcement Directorate.
“Because BJP is scared of me the most. That’s why they want to defame me by accusing me (through the ED),” Baghel told reporters here.
Earlier on Friday, the Enforcement Directorate said that they have intercepted a cash courier Asim Das who was sent from UAE especially, to deliver a large amount of cash for electioneering expenses of the ruling Congress party in Chhattisgarh.
The central agency added that the arrested person, Asim Das, confessed that Rs 508 crore has been so far paid to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister by Mahadev APP Promoters.
The Congress is questioning the ‘timing’ of the claims by the central agency as it comes days before Assembly elections are due in Chhattisgarh.
Taking note of the claims, BJP on Saturday questioned whether it is true that Chhattisgarh Congress leaders received money from Das to meet election expenses in the poll-bound state.
Addressing a press briefing at BJP headquarters in the national capital, Union Minister Smriti Irani alleged that the Congress party is contesting the Chhattisgarh elections using hawala operators.
Responding to this, Baghel said that the BJP earlier levelled accusations against Himanta Biswa Sarma and Ajit Pawar when they were in the opposition. “(And) when they joined your party and were washed with ‘Modi washing powder’, they became neat and clean,” he said.
Moreover, while addressing a press briefing, Smriti Irani asked whether Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh received money from Asim Das, who is in ED’s custody, on the orders of Shubham Soni, who ED says is one of the high-ranking accused of the Mahadev network.
“Yesterday, shocking facts regarding Bhupesh Baghel emerged before the country. More than Rs 5.30 Crores was seized from a man called Asim Das…Is it true that Congress leaders received money from Asim Das, via Shubham Soni? Is it true that Shubham Soni was ordered by Asim Das to go to Raipur and give money to Baghel as election expenses?” Smriti said.
The Union Minister said that Asim Das has confessed in his statement that he came to Dubai as ordered. “He was ordered that money be given for Congress’ elections expenses. Asim Das has confessed that this money is from illegal betting under Mahadev App. Asim Das has confessed that Shubham Soni is a part of the top-level management of Mahadev Online Book,” she said.
“Congress party is contesting the Chhattisgarh elections using hawala operators. Chhattisgarh Police and Andhra Pradesh do not come under the administrative purview of the BJP. So, is Bhupesh Baghel questioning his own Government?” she added further.
The ED is investigating the Mahadev Book Online Betting App syndicate in which the promoters of this betting syndicate are based 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 thousands of crore of proceeds of crime.
The ED has already arrested four accused persons seized proceeds of crime worth more than Rs 450 crore and filed a prosecution complaint against 14 accused persons.
Earlier, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh responded to the BJP’s press briefing saying that when the party comes out openly in defence of ED early in the morning, then their collusion becomes clear.
“When BJP comes out openly in defence of ED early in the morning, then their collusion and political misuse of agencies in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan becomes clear. The Election Commission should take cognizance of this. Trust remains intact, once again Congress government…” the Congress MP said in a post on the social media platform, X.
The elections for the 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly will be held in two phases, with the first phase of polling for 20 seats scheduled on November 7 and the remaining 70 seats to go for polling on November 17.
The counting of votes will be done on December 3.
Congress stormed to power in Chhattisgarh in the 2018 elections, winning 68 out of 90 seats. The party had a vote share of 43.9 per cent. BJP won 15 seats and had a vote share of 33.6 per cent

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