NEW DELHI: Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday trained his guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and questioned why the Centre had not banned the Mahadev App. The Enforcement Directorate had said last week it is probing claims that Rs 508 crore was given to Bhupesh Baghel by the promoters of the Mahadev App. Prime Minister Modi and other BJP leaders have targeted Baghel over the alleged ‘Mahadev’ betting app scam in their rallies in the poll-bound states.
When asked about the PM’s charges against him, Baghel said “Why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi shielding the owners of Mahadev App? The BJP should explain why the Mahadev App is still functioning?”
At a rally in Chhattisgarh last Saturday, PM Modihad said: “Congress government in Chhattisgarh has not spared any chance to loot you.They have not even spared the name of ‘Mahadev’. Just two days ago, a major action was taken (by the Enforcement Directorate) in Raipur and a huge pile of cash was recovered. People are saying that this is the money belonging to ‘sattebaj’ (those involved in betting) and they have collected it by looting the poor and youth of Chhattisgarh. Congress leaders have been filling their houses with the same money.”
While the Prime Minister did not name Baghel, he asked the Congress government and the chief minister to tell the people of Chhattisgarh what link they have with the accused in this scam sitting in Dubai.
PM Modi repeated his attacks today at a rally in Madhya Pradesh. “Wherever Congress gets an opportunity … what it does… there is sattabazi (betting) in Chhattisgarh and red diary of kale karname in Rajasthan,” he said and added, “Government, chief minister’s room, and satta. The sattabaz (bookie) is saying he has paid Rs 500 crore to chief minister,” PM Modi said.
Bhupesh Baghel has denied these allegations and has alleged that the ED is working to help the BJP. After the BJP released a video of one of the accused Shubham Soni saying he was the owner of the app and had the “proof” of paying Rs 508 crore so far to Baghel, the Chhattisgarh chief minister had said “the ED is BJP and the BJP is ED.”
Mumbai police register FIR against 32 people
The Mumbai police have registered an FIR against 32 people, including the “promoter” of the ‘Mahadev’ betting app, for allegedly committing a fraud of nearly Rs 15,000 crore, an official said on Wednesday.
According to the Matunga police official, the first information report (FIR) was registered on Tuesday against “app promoter Saurabh Chandrakar”, and key accused Ravi Uppal and Shubham Soni and others for committing the fraud since 2019 until now.
The case was registered on the direction of the 30th Kurla court under Indian Penal Code sections 420 (cheating), 120-B (conspiracy), IT Act (for cyber terrorism) and the Gambling Act, the official said.
As per the FIR, the accused have defrauded people of nearly Rs 15,000 crore.
Baghel invokes Chhattisgarhi pride, self-respect to counter ED raids
Bhupesh Baghel slammed the BJP-led Centre over ED raids and said it was an attempt to scare the people of his constituency Patan.
“Early in the morning, the ED has been sent to the place of Suresh Dhingani ji who had accompanied me when I filed my nomination papers and has been acting as my ‘adhikarik vyay lekhak’ (official handling poll expenditure records) in the electoral process,” Baghel said.
“This attempt to scare the people of Patan assembly would have failed in the same way as BJP faced in voting on 20 seats yesterday. Saheb, don’t consider Chhattisgarhiya people weak and cowardly. They eat their rice, that too with full self-respect.’ Baat hai abhimaan ke, Chhattisgarhiya ke swabhiman ke’ (it’s a matter of pride, self-respect of Chhattisgarhiya),” the CM added.
‘BJP has accepted defeat’
Baghel claimed that the BJP has accepted defeat in Chhattisgarh and the central agencies will take a short break and return to raid again before the Lok Sabha election. He also hit out at the former Chief Minister of the state Raman Singh.
“Whoever has been caught with money has a photograph of themselves with Raman Singh. The day before yesterday, no one knew Shubham Soni. All of a sudden, he has become the owner of the Mahadev app. And he is such an owner who spends Rs 250 crore on the wedding of his servant. He would be the first person to do this,” Baghel said.
“Two officers used to live with Raman Singh, and they used to make up similar stories. This is all planted,” Baghel said.
(With inputs from agencies)

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