Monday, December 11, 2023

“Congress contesting Chhattisgarh elections using hawala operators”: BJP hits out at Baghel after ED’s claims

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launched a vehement attack on Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in light of allegations of an alleged Rs 508 crore deal with Mahadev betting app promoters. The BJP questioned whether Congress leaders received funds from Shubham Soni, the alleged mastermind of the app, to cover election expenses in the poll-bound state.

Union Minister Smriti Irani, speaking at a press briefing at the BJP headquarters in the national capital, accused the Congress party of contesting the Chhattisgarh elections with the involvement of hawala operators.

This development followed the Enforcement Directorate’s revelation that they had intercepted a cash courier named Asim Das, sent from the UAE, carrying a substantial amount of cash intended for the election expenses of the ruling Congress party in Chhattisgarh. Asim Das purportedly confessed that the seized funds were provided by the Mahadev App promoters to be delivered to “Politician Baghel” for the upcoming election expenses in Chhattisgarh.

Reacting to this, Smriti Irani raised questions about whether Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh had received money from Asim Das, who is in the custody of the ED, on the orders of Shubham Soni, identified as one of the high-ranking accused in the Mahadev network.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has denied the allegations, describing them as a joke and asserting that the BJP aims to contest the upcoming Chhattisgarh polls with the assistance of its “agencies.”

The ED is conducting an investigation into the Mahadev Book Online Betting App syndicate, involving promoters based abroad who remotely manage multiple panels across India with the assistance of friends and associates primarily from Chhattisgarh, generating substantial proceeds of crime. The ED has already arrested four accused individuals, seized proceeds of crime worth over Rs 450 crore, and filed a prosecution complaint against 14 accused individuals.

In response, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh criticized the BJP’s defense of the ED, insinuating collusion and political misuse of agencies in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. He called on the Election Commission to take notice of the situation.

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