Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel was charged by an alleged courier detained by the Enforcement Directorate with stealing ₹ 508 crore in the Mahadev betting app case. However, Asim Das, the “courier,” has since recanted, saying he was set up and never gave money to politicians.
Four days before the first round of the Chhattisgarh assembly elections, on November 3, Das was taken into custody with more than ₹ 5 crore in cash. In addition to claiming to be a courier, the ED said that Das’s promoters of the Mahadev Betting app had paid Mr. Baghel ₹ 508 crore. The investigation team had declared that the shocking claims needed further examination.
However, Das has refuted any such claims. Das claimed he was being set up and that he was forced to sign a statement in English, a language he did not understand, in a letter to the Director of ED that he wrote from behind bars.
He wrote in the letter that his childhood friend was the illegal app’s creator, Shubham Soni. On Soni’s insistence, he had made two trips to Dubai in October of this year.
In his letter, Das stated that Soni asked him to work for him and expressed interest in launching a construction company in Chhattisgarh. The Mahadev promoter pledged to set up funding for the company.
“I was told to get a car and check into a hotel on VIP Road the day I landed at the Raipur airport. I was instructed to park the car in a certain area, and after I did, someone left the car with bags of cash inside,” he wrote.
“After being told over the phone to return to my hotel room, ED officers eventually showed up at my room and took me with them. I discovered later that I am being held accountable. I have never given any political leaders or employees money or any other kind of support,” Mr. Das wrote.
Investigative agencies began to focus on the Mahadev app following a ₹ 200 crore all-cash wedding in the United Arab Emirates in February.
Prior to being taken into custody by the ED, one of the accused had stated that officials, politicians, and police were given stock in the app to maintain the hawala and betting syndicate.
The ED is also questioning prominent Bollywood actors Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor, who have featured in app advertisements.