Chhattisgarh CMO officials took kickbacks to allow banned betting site Mahadev Book to operate: ED

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested four people including Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s political advisor and two Officers on Special Duty (OSDs), after their recent search on the premises of CM’s political advisor and close aides.

All the arrests were done in the case of Mahadev Book illegal betting app, where illegal transactions on an estimated Rs 5000 crore was done in one year. Arrested individuals include ASI Chandrabhushan Verma, businessman Satish Chandrakar, and hawala operators Anil Dammani and Sunil Dammani who are all booked under the provisions of PMLA 2002.

Among the lot, Satish Chandrakar is a close relative of the kingpin of the whole illegal operation, Saurabh Chandrakar, who is hiding in Dubai and operating Mahadev Book behind the scenes. These arrests come right after the ED and CRPF conducted raids in 10 locations.

In an official statement, ED said, “ASI Chandrabhushan Verma was acting as the main liaison on the ground in Chhattisgarh. He, along with Satish Chandrakar, was receiving hefty monthly money via Hawala from Dubai-based promoters of Mahadev Online Book and were distributing the same to senior police officers and leaders politically connected to CMO as ‘protection money.”

Probes in the matter revealed that Verma had received Rs 65 crore, which he distributed among several senior officers as a bribe after keeping his cut. Verma could do this despite being in a more minor rank due to his connections with CM’s political advisor.

“ASI Verma has admitted before ED that he was receiving and paying large monthly bribes to many power people,” an ED official said. Verma further revealed that the bribe was used to restrict the prosecution of local punters and prevent further action on operations.

“Arrested accused have specifically named high-ranking officials connected to CMO who have received hefty kickbacks on a monthly/regular basis,” the official added.

Congress have accused the opposition party, BJP, of saying they are “trying its dirtiest tricks to intimidate and rattle the Congress”. Further, they claim that it only shows desperation on their end.