Bhupesh Baghel named in chargesheet, alleges ‘ED acting at behest of its political masters’ – India TV

Bhupesh Baghel
Image Source : PTI Bhupesh Baghel

Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel on Saturday alleged the Enforcement Directorate has mentioned his name in its supplementary charge sheet in the Mahadev betting app case as part of a ‘political conspiracy’ at the behest of its ‘political masters’.

The Congress leader also alleged the federal agency has been fraudulently arresting people and pressuring them to give statements against him and his associates. The ED in its second prosecution complaint (charge sheet) filed before a special court in Raipur on January 1 stated that alleged courier Asim Das, arrested in the Mahadev betting app case, who claimed he had been sent to “deliver” cash to Bhupesh Baghel, has retracted his denial of having made the charges.

“The way the ED has mentioned my name in its supplementary charge sheet is completely part of a political conspiracy. The ED, at the behest of its political masters, has been fraudulently arresting people and pressuring them to give statements against me and my associates. The allegations of money transactions made in these statements are baseless,” Baghel wrote on ‘X’.

“Asim Das, from whom the money was recovered, had said in his handwritten statement from jail that he too has been deceived and implicated and that he never delivered money to any politician or people associated with them. Now the ED has claimed that he has withdrawn his statement. Everyone knows that under which pressure all this has been happening,” he said.

The ED has the complete recording of the day of the incident when money was allegedly recovered from Asim Das which means the entire incident was pre-planned and engineered by the federal agency, according to Baghel.

“We have been saying from the beginning that ED has been using assault and threats and pressuring (accused in the case) to frame me and my associates. This has become very clear from the new ED document,” he added. Bahel also claimed the investigation into the Mahadev App scam was ordered by him when he was chief minister.

“I wanted this entire gang to be exposed and prevent this offence which has been pushing youth towards gambling. Based on the (previous) Chhattisgarh government’s investigation, the ED launched a probe into it as a case of money laundering. But unfortunately, the ED has made the investigation a weapon of political pressure and defame,” he said.

The senior Congress leader further alleged that politics in the Mahadev App matter makes it clear that the objective is to save real criminals and benefit the BJP by spreading political propaganda.

The ED arrested Asim Das last November from a Raipur hotel just before the first phase of the Chhattisgarh assembly polls. It had claimed that Das “admitted that the seized funds (Rs 5.39 crore cash) were arranged by the Mahadev app promoters to be delivered to one politician ‘Baghel’ for upcoming election expenses in Chhattisgarh”.

During his production before the court later last year, Das submitted that he had been framed as part of a conspiracy and that he had never delivered cash to anyone. The ED has now informed in its second prosecution complaint (charge sheet) that Das recorded a fresh statement on December 12 last year in which he “retracted from his November 3 statement (made) under the influence of someone who arrived with his (Das’s) advocate”.

The ED said Das stated that his first statement given to the agency on November 3 last year in which he cited Baghel’s name was “true and correct”. In his November statement, the courier had told the ED that Subham Soni, a promoter of the Mahadev app, called him to Dubai in October 2023 and said he would be “provided cash which was to be delivered to Mr Bhupesh Baghel…”. The Raipur court is expected to take cognisance of this supplementary charge sheet on January 10.

(With inputs from PTI)

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