In a recent development, Chhattisgarh’s Chief Minister, Bhupesh Baghel, finds himself entangled in a controversy surrounding the Mahadev betting app. This situation took a political turn as Union Minister Smriti Irani questioned whether Baghel was undermining his own police force, which had filed an FIR in the Mahadev Book App case. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) alleged that Baghel had received a substantial sum of ₹508 crore from the app’s promoters, a charge vehemently denied by Baghel.
The Mahadev app has garnered attention due to its connections with several Bollywood figures who were recently questioned in connection with the Dubai-based platform. The ED claimed to have discovered a web of benami bank accounts and a confession linking these funds to someone with the name ‘Baghel’ for election purposes in the state. Baghel reacted to these allegations, expressing his dismay at the situation and raising concerns about the ease with which reputations could be tarnished.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh responded to Smriti Irani’s press conference, highlighting what he saw as early support from the BJP for the ED’s actions. Ramesh suggested collusion between the ED and the BJP in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. He also questioned the timing of these allegations, especially considering that FIRs related to the Mahadev app had been filed in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, both states where the BJP is not in power.
Union Minister Smriti Irani defended the allegations, emphasizing that the FIRs had been filed in 2022, with investigations ongoing since then. She pointed out the involvement of hawala operators in the electoral contest and the evidence at hand, which she claimed was unprecedented in electoral history.
In response, Chhattisgarh Deputy Chief Minister TS Singh Deo challenged Smriti Irani to present her evidence to the public. He questioned her motives behind making allegations without providing concrete information and implied that her actions might be connected to the upcoming elections. Deo also criticized the ED’s press release for lacking substantial facts.
As the controversy surrounding the Mahadev app allegations continues to unfold, Chhattisgarh’s political landscape remains charged with uncertainty, with both sides of the political spectrum standing their ground.