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Why Hasn’t Centre Arrested Mahadev Betting App Promoters Despite Lookout Circular: Baghel

Talking to reporters in Raipur, he described the ED’s press note released on Friday over its money laundering probe into the betting app as the BJP’s second election manifesto. 

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Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel
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Amid allegations against him in connection with the ‘Mahadev’ betting app, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Saturday asked why the Centre was “not taking any action” against its promoters. 

Talking to reporters in Raipur, he described the ED’s press note released on Friday over its money laundering probe into the betting app as the BJP’s second election manifesto. 

In its press note, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) claimed that a forensic analysis and a statement made by a ‘cash courier’ had led to “startling allegations” that the promoters of the Mahadev betting app paid about Rs 508 crore to the Chhattisgarh chief minister so far, and that “these are subject matter of investigation”.

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The ED also claimed that it had recovered Rs 5.39 crore cash from the courier, whom it identified as Asim Das.

“These (BJP) people cannot fight directly so they resorted to ED and I-T to contest elections. Yesterday, two BJP manifestos were released. The first one was in Hindi on the letterhead of the BJP, while the other one was in English on the letterhead of ED,” he said responding to a query on the betting app case.

Despite a lookout circular being issued against the promoters of the Mahadev betting app, they have not been arrested, said the Congress leader.

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Baghel said allegations were levelled against him without carrying out any investigation. 

“In (Union home minister) Amit Shah’s words, understand the chronology. The PM comes, the home minister comes and before that, the ED comes and then arrests (accused person) from a hotel. What was the Election Commission doing? How money reached here,” the chief minister asked.

Baghel asked why “Soni, Saurabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal (allegedly involved in the case)” have not yet been arrested and the app is still not shut. “It means that PM ji and his party people have links with them. It is my direct allegation,” he added.

A charge sheet was recently filed by the ED in the Mahadev app case where a total of 14 accused were named including main promoters Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal.

"Large scale hawala operations are done to siphon off the proceeds of betting to off-shore accounts. Large expenditure in cash is also being done in India for advertising of betting websites and self-aggrandisement necessary to attract new Users and franchise (panel) seekers," the agency had earlier said.

Congress-governed Chhattisgarh goes to polls in two phases on November 7 and November 17.

-With PTI Input

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