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Mahadev app case: Ex-CM Bhupesh Baghel named in FIR

Published:

RAIPUR: The

Chhattisgarh Economic Offences Wing

(EOW) has named former chief minister

Bhupesh Baghel

in its First Information Report (FIR) lodged in connection with the controversial Mahadeo Book online betting scam, said to involve around Rs 6,000 crore.
Details of the FIR, filed on March 4 based on a complaint by the

Enforcement Directorate

(ED), emerged late on Saturday night few hours after the

Lok Sabha elections

were announced. The copy of the FIR mentions Bhupesh Baghel’s name under the list of suspects/accused with the address “Padumnagar. Bhilai” while it provides full addresses of many other suspects including police constables and hawala operators.
Congress leader

Bhupesh Baghel is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Rajnandgaon constituency in Chhattisgarh.
Since the filing of the FIR on March four, state

EOW-ACB

officials have remained tight-lipped about the FIR in the Mahadeo Book online betting scam. However, sources have now revealed that a case has been registered under IPC sections 120 B & 34 for criminal conspiracy and common intention, 406 for criminal breach of trust, 420 for cheating, 467 for forgery of valuable security, 468 forgeries for cheating, and 471 for fraudulently or dishonestly using any document as genuine.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which conducted searches and arrested a couple of individuals in connection with the

Mahadeo Book scam

, had earlier alleged that government functionaries, including officials, allowed illegal activities after receiving “protection money”. Quoting a statement from an alleged promoter of Mahadeo Book, the central agency in November 2023, just ahead of the assembly elections, claimed that Chandrakar and Uppal paid bribes worth Rs 508 crores to Baghel, a charge denied by the then-chief minister.

Additionally, the central agency has asserted that the

Mahadev

Book App promoters have allegedly paid substantial sums as protection money to multiple police officers, administrative officials, and influential political figures to prevent law enforcement from intervening in their illicit operations. These funds were purportedly routed to the police and administrative officials via hawala channels, subsequently reaching higher-ranking police officials and influential political figures.
According to the Enforcement Directorate, Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal, who originally hails from the steel city of Bhilai in Chhattisgarh, allegedly provided online avenues for illegal betting on live games, including cricket, tennis, badminton, poker, and card games. The Mahadev online book betting application is linked to a syndicate that facilitates online platforms for unlawful betting websites.
In the backdrop of reports about EOW naming him in the Mahadeo Book scam-related FIR, former chief minister Bhupesh Baghel is scheduled to address a press conference at the state Congress headquarters later in the evening.

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