NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday said they are investigating claims by a “cash courier” that the promoters of Mahadev App have paid Rs 508 crore to Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel. This even as the Congress alleged that the BJP-led Centre is using ED to frighten and demoralise the opposition parties.
Reacting to the development, the CM posted a lengthy rebuttal on X, formerly Twitter, wherein he accused the BJP of trying to contest the Chhattisgarh electionswith the help of agencies like ED, IT, DRI and CBI.He also alleged that the ED “has made the most malicious attempt to tarnish” his image.

“This is a political attempt to defame the popular Congress government which is being done through ED,” he added.
The central agency said it intercepted cash courier Asim Das after intelligence inputs about cash movement by promoters of Mahadev App in poll-bound Chhattisgarh and recovered a cash of Rs 5.39 crore from his car and his residence.
The ED claimed that Asim Das has admitted that the seized funds were arranged by the Mahadev APP promoters to be delivered to one politician ‘Baghel’ for upcoming election expenses in the state of Chhattisgarh. The agency said that Asim Das was sent from UAE especially for this work.
The central probe agency also said that it has discovered some benami bank accounts of Mahadev App in which balance amounting to Rs 15.59 crore have been frozen.
According to the ED, after investigations it has also arrested police constable Bheem Yadav. The agency claims that Bheem Yadav was the conduit to receive bribe money from Mahadev APP promoters for the benefit of senior officers and politicians of Chhattisgarh.
“Bheem Yadav had unauthorizedly travelled to Dubai in the last three years and had met Ravi Uppal and Sourabh Chandrakar. He also participated in the gala functions of Mahadev APP, and his travel expenses were borne by M/s Rapid Travels of Ahuja Brothers – a money laundering and ticketing company of the Mahadev APP,” the ED officers said.

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According to the agency, both the accused have been remanded to 7 days of ED custody by PMLA special judge, Raipur.
Meanwhile Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that through ED, the Centre wants to frighten the opposition leaders and demoralise them.
“They (central government) are making attacks at the opposition by scaring it in the name of ED and CBI. How come they are taking legal action against opposition members at a time when the election is around the corner? Why didn’t they do it earlier? They are trying to scare the opposition by demoralizing it,” Kharge said.

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The elections for the 90-member Chhattisgarh assembly will be held in two phases, with the first phase of polling for 20 seats scheduled on November 7 and the remaining 70 seats to vote on November 17.
The counting of votes will be done on December 3.
Congress stormed to power in Chhattisgarh in the 2018 elections, winning 68 out of 90 seats. The party had a vote share of 43.9 per cent. BJP won 15 seats and had a vote share of 33.6 per cent.

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(With inputs from agencies)
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