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BJP's Smriti Irani Claims Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel Received Rs 508 Crore From Mahadev Betting App Operators

During a press conference, Union minister Smriti Irani remarked that there is evidence which clearly indicated that hawala operators' instructions and funds originating from Dubai were acquired through the exploitation of the less fortunate had been utilized by the Congress's Bhupesh Baghel to participate in an election.

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Union Minister Smriti Irani accuses Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel of receiving Hawala money.
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On Saturday, the BJP levelled accusations against the Congress, asserting that the party had utilized hawala funds originating from the illicit Mahadev betting app to finance its election campaign in Chhattisgarh. These allegations were directed at Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who stands accused of receiving over Rs 500 crore in kickbacks from the promoters of the firm.

Union minister Smriti Irani, in a press conference, stated, "Never before has evidence come forth which clearly indicates that hawala operators' instructions and money emanating from Dubai, obtained by exploiting the poor, have been used by the Congress leadership to contest an election."

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Irani further claimed that Baghel had redefined corruption and highlighted that overwhelming evidence, even from states not governed by the BJP, had implicated the Congress leadership. She alleged that Baghel was not relying on the support of the people but on hawala and betting operators, accusing him of engaging in a power struggle while being in office.

Responding to Baghel's accusation that the BJP was using central investigation agencies to target him ahead of the November 7 and 17 Assembly polls in the state, Irani retorted that the Enforcement Directorate's probe was based on details and evidence from investigations conducted by police in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

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She raised questions about whether Baghel was implicating his own government in the process. Irani noted that neither of the states was ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

She also pointed to voice messages and statements of the accused that linked the use of betting funds to finance the Congress' campaign in the state and the kickbacks provided to Baghel. Irani questioned whether all the evidence was wrong, with Baghel being the only one in the right.

Irani cited the Enforcement Directorate's statement that a cash courier, Asim Das, arrested with Rs 5.39 crore in Raipur, was dispatched by the app's promoters from the UAE to deliver a significant amount of cash for the election expenses of the ruling Congress in the state.

She further mentioned that probe agencies had seized over Rs 450 crore worth of proceeds of the crime. The Enforcement Directorate, on Friday, had claimed that a forensic analysis and a statement from a 'cash courier' had led to "startling allegations" that the Mahadev betting app promoters had paid approximately Rs 508 crore to the Chhattisgarh chief minister, which were now the subject of investigation.

In response, Baghel accused the Enforcement Directorate of making a "malicious attempt" to tarnish his image ahead of the state's Assembly polls. He also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah of resorting to central investigation agencies after "failing" to challenge the ruling Congress in the state.

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The Congress, in support of its chief minister, maintained that the people would deliver a resounding response in the upcoming elections.

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