ANI Photo | “Come with proof and take action”: Chhattisgarh Deputy CM on ED allegations against Bhupesh Baghel

Chhattisgarh Deputy Chief Minister TS Deo Singh on Friday slammed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after the agency made allegations that Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel received Rs 508 crore from the promoters of the Mahadev betting app and said that the ED is now engaged in fabricating narrative to tarnish Baghel’s reputation.
Speaking to ANI, Singh asked the federal agency to take action against the CM if it has any concrete evidence against him.
“Since the election preparations have begun, we have assumed that the ED will act this way so that Congress suffers a loss…You have started another story to defame (CM Bhupesh Baghel),” Singh said.
Describing the ED’s allegations against Bhupesh Baghel as “condemnable,” Singh said, “This is the same ED that started its actions against Congress just a day before the party’s session. This is the same ED; which officers are being found with illegal money”.
Singh argued that the allegations were as baseless as those made against former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the Bofors scandal, which were later disproven by the Supreme Court.
“This is baseless until the allegations are proven. You put baseless allegations against Rajiv Gandhi who was Mr Clean, in the Bofors scandal and after ten to twelve years of his death, the SC gave clean chit in the matter… In this matter, are there any facts?… This is condemnable,” he added.
The ED on Friday, in light of fresh evidence following a search operation on November 2, it has come to light that regular payments were made and, so far, about Rs 508 crore has been paid by Mahadev App Promoters to Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel.
Chhattisgarh will go to the polls for the 90-member Assembly in two phases — November 7 and 17. The counting of votes for Chhattisgarh Assembly has been scheduled for December 3, along with those of four other poll-bound states.
Congress stormed to the hustings in Chhattisgarh in the 2018 elections, winning 68 of the 90 seats and hogging 43.9 per cent of the total votes polled. The BJP had to be content with just 15 seats.
Meanwhile, hours after the ED claims, Baghel said there cannot be a bigger joke than this.
“Can there be a bigger joke? If today I catch hold of someone and ask him to take PM Modi’s name, will they (ED) interrogate him? It has become very easy to toss someone’s reputation,” Baghel told reporters on the ED’s allegations.
Baghel added on X that the BJP wants to contest the upcoming Chhattisgarh polls with the help of its “agencies”.
“As I have said earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party wants to contest Chhattisgarh elections with the help of agencies like ED, IT, DRI and CBI. Just before the elections, ED has made the most malicious attempt to tarnish my image. This is a political attempt to defame the popular Congress government which is being done through ED,” the Chief Minister posted on ‘X’.
Baghel said ED has accused him of taking Rs 508 crore based on a statement of an unknown person.
“In the name of an investigation into ‘Mahadev App’, ED first raided the houses of people close to me to defame them and now, on the basis of the statement of an unknown person, it has accused me of taking Rs 508 crore,” he said.
He added that if the matter is under investigation, the agency should not have issued a press release.
“See the ED’s smarts that after revealing the statement of that person, it has written in a short sentence that the statement is a matter of investigation. If the investigation has not been done then issuing a press release on the statement of one person not only reveals the intentions of the ED but also that of the central government,” he said.
Baghel questioned how such a large amount of cash landed up in Chhatisgarh when the elections are around the corner.
He also alleged a nexus between central agencies.
“Elections are around the corner and everything is now in the domain of the EC. While the police and the CRPF have been deployed across the state, the question arises as to how such huge amounts of money are reaching Chhattisgarh. Is there any nexus between central agencies?” he asked.
“Were the money brought in boxes that did not arrive by the special plane along with ED officers and security agencies?” Baghel added.
The Chhattisgarh CM claimed that since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah cannot compete with the Congress in the state, they are turning to the central investigating agencies for help.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah are not being able to compete with the Congress in Chhattisgarh, and have turned to the central investigating agencies for help,” Baghel said.
He added that the people of Chhattisgarh are with the Congress government in its fight against the central agencies.
“Every Congress worker is ready. The people of Chhattisgarh are with us in our fight against central agencies like ED and IT. We will fight and win,” he said

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