'Malicious campaign, misusing ED': Congress refutes betting app links to Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel
The Congress on Saturday said that the allegations against Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in connection with the betting platform Mahadev app are a "conspiracy to tarnish" his image. Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, "I only want to say that this is a clear misuse. It is revenge politics."
Responding to ED's crackdown in Congress-ruled Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the grand old party on Saturday alleged that the BJP at the Centre was 'misusing' the probe agency because the party is losing clearly in both the poll-bound states.
The Congress' reaction came in the wake of the Enforcement Directorate's claims made against Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel over an alleged Rs 508 crore deal with Mahadev betting app promoters.
The party stated that the claims are "a clear-cut conspiracy to tarnish Bhupesh Baghel's image" and that "people will give befitting reply" in a joint news conference led by senior leaders Jairam Ramesh, KC Venugopal, and Abhishek Singhvi.
Reacting to this, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh addressed a press briefing here in the national capital and accused the BJP of 'misusing' the central agency in the poll-bound states.
"I only want to say that this is a clear misuse. It is revenge politics. It is only being applied because the BJP's losing clearly. In both states (Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan), the trust is continuing. Once again, the Congress government will come," the Congress leader said.
Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal declared, "The main weapons of the BJP are the Income Tax Department and the ED. They carried out searches on over a hundred Congress candidates in the Karnataka Assembly elections. After eight or nine months, there has been no follow-up on them."
"Their [BJP-led central government] partnership with the ED is on the rise because they can also sense the defeat," Singhvi stated in reference to Chhattisgarh. Additionally, he declared that "the whole world knows about it and the saffron party is heading towards a big defeat."
Meanwhile, the BJP alleged that the Congress is funding their election expenses "with the help of hawala operators". Union Minister Smriti Irani said it was "shocking that we have the use of hawala operation, illicit money through illegal betting to fund the Congress campaign". The anti-money laundering agency ED claimed to have recorded a statement from a "cash courier," Asim Das, who claimed that Bhupesh Baghel got Rs 508 crore from the creators of the Mahadev betting app, days before the state assembly elections in Chhattisgarh.