Bhupesh Baghel, the Chhattisgarh chief minister, was accused of allegedly taking 508 crore from Mahadev gambling app by an alleged courier arrested by the Enforcement Directorate. Asim Das, the ‘courier’, has now backtracked and claimed he was framed for attempting to deliver cash to politicians.
It was four days before the first phase of Chhattisgarh assembly elections when Das was arrested with over Rs. 5 crore in cash. A statement from the ED claimed that Das was a courier and that the Mahadev Betting app promoters had paid Mr Baghel $508 crore. There was an investigation underway into the startling allegations, according to the investigation agency.
Das, however, denies making any such allegations. Das wrote to ED’s Director from jail, saying he was being framed and forced to sign a document in English, which he didn’t understand.
A letter he wrote claimed he was childhood friends with Shubham Soni, the man behind the illegal app. Due to Soni’s insistence, he visited Dubai twice in October.
The letter states that Das asked Soni to work for him in Chhattisgarh so that he could start a construction business. Money would be arranged for the business by the Mahadev promoter.
A person put bags of cash in the vehicle after I parked it at a specific spot during my arrival at the Raipur airport,” he wrote. He picked up a car from the airport and drove to a hotel on VIP Road.
In his letter, Mr Das wrote, “After some time I was asked to go to my hotel room and then taken with them by ED officials. Later, I realized that I was being implicated. I have never given money or any other assistance to anyone in politics.”
In February, Mahadev’s mobile app came under scrutiny after a wedding in the UAE, which was entirely cash-based, cost 200 crores.
A suspect arrested by the ED previously claimed police, politicians, and bureaucrats had stakes in the app to maintain the betting and hawala syndicate.
The ED is also questioning Bollywood actors Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor, who have appeared in ads for the app.
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