NEW DELHI: Union minister Smriti Irani on Saturday targeted chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, accusing him of Rs 500 crore kickback for party’s election campaign in Chhattisgarh. She alleged that the Congress has been utilising funds from hawala transactions to fund its election campaign in the poll-bound state. “Never before in our electoral electoral history had people seen such evidence,” she said while addressing a press conference in Delhi.
“One of the most volatile and shocking pieces of evidence regarding the use of Hawala operations and illicit money emanating from Dubai by illegal betting operators to fund the election expenses of the Congress party in Chhattisgarh has come to the fore.He has played the game of betting while being in power,” the union minister said while attacking CM Baghel.
Her statement comes after the Enforcement Directorate informed they had intercepted and arrested a cash courier boy, who had been dispatched from the UAE to deliver a large sum of cash for electioneering expenses in Chhattisgarh.
On November 2, the ED confiscated Rs 5.39 crore from Asim Das, who it claimed had admitted that the seized funds had been organized by the promoters of the Mahadev betting app for delivering to one politician ‘Baghel’ to cover upcoming election expenses in Chhattisgarh.
Smriti Irani said, “Yesterday, shocking facts regarding Bhupesh Baghel emerged before the country. More than Rs 5.30 crores was seized from a man called Asim Das…Is it true that Congress leaders received money from Asim Das, via Shubham Soni?…Is it true that Aseem Das was specifically called to Dubai to deliver cash to Bhupesh Baghel?.. Is it true that Shubham Soni was ordered by Asim Das to go to Raipur and give money to Baghel as election expenses?”

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The ED further revealed that Das confessed that a total of Rs 508 crore had been disbursed to the Chhattisgarh CM Baghel by the Mahadev App promoters.
In response, the state chief minister has alleged that the BJP is using central investigation agencies to target him just prior to the upcoming state assembly elections.
Smriti further claimed that there are voice messages and statements from the accused that establish a connection between usage of betting funds for funding the Congress’ election campaign in Chhattisgarh and the kickbacks provided to state CM Baghel.
The ED is currently investigating the Mahadev Book Online Betting App syndicate. The promoters of this syndicate are based outside India and are managing multiple panels throughout the country.

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