The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has made startling claims that promoters of the Mahadev online betting app allegedly paid over Rs 500 crore to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. This allegation comes just days before the first phase of Assembly elections in the state.

ED conducted raids in Chhattisgarh and recovered Rs 5.39 crore in cash on November 3. The agency intercepted one Asim Das, who was allegedly couriering the money on directions of Mahadev app promoters based in the UAE.

Asim confessed that the cash was meant to be delivered to ‘Baghel’ for election expenses of the ruling Congress party in Chhattisgarh. He further revealed that so far the Mahadev app promoters have paid approximately Rs 508 crore to CM Baghel.

Huge Cash Recoveries Point to Money Laundering

In the Mahadev betting app case, ED has made multiple large cash seizures worth over Rs 450 crore. Recently in September, the agency recovered gold, jewellery and cash worth Rs 417 crore after searches at 39 locations.

The agency found clues pointing to a network of benami bank accounts related to the betting app. An amount of Rs 15.59 crore in these accounts has been frozen by ED.

Promoters of the Mahadev app Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal hail from Chhattisgarh but are now settled in Dubai. As per ED estimates, the app registered daily betting transactions of thousands of crores and was earning massive profits.

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Policeman Arrested for Dubai Trips, Hawala Links

ED has also arrested a police constable named Bheem Yadav in this case. The agency claims Yadav made unauthorised trips to Dubai in the past three years to meet the Mahadev app promoters.

His travel expenses for these Dubai visits were allegedly borne by a ticketing firm associated with the app promoters. This company is suspected to be involved in hawala transactions for the promoters.

Yadav has confessed he was a conduit for receiving bribe money from the promoters for senior politicians and officials in Chhattisgarh.

Celebs Face Probe for Attending Lavish Wedding in Dubai

Earlier ED had summoned leading Bollywood celebrities who reportedly performed at a Rs 200 crore wedding of promoter Sourabh Chandrakar in Dubai.

As per ED, payments for celeb performances at the lavish wedding were made through hawala channels. Celebrities questioned so far include Ranbir Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor and comedian Kapil Sharma.

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Election Commission Seeks Report from State Authorities

The Election Commission has sought factual reports from Chhattisgarh’s Chief Electoral Officer and the ED over the allegations of cash payments to CM Baghel.

The poll panel stated they have taken cognizance of media reports in this matter. The first phase of Chhattisgarh elections is on November 12 and second phase on November 19.

The opposition BJP has also written to the Election Commission demanding necessary action over theserious allegations. However, CM Baghel has dismissed the allegations as politically motivated.

The ED claims are based on revelations by accused persons involved in the betting app case. It remains to be seen if the agency can establish concrete proof of the purported payments to Baghel before the state elections.

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