Union MoS for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar, however, alleged that the Chhattisgarh government could have recommended shutting down the app but didn’t do so.
On Friday, the ED dropped a bombshell by issuing a statement that its probe indicates that CM Baghel was “paid Rs 508 crore” by the promoters of Mahadev app. Baghel called it a “joke”, and accused BJP of “using central agencies in the elections”. Baghel has often publicly urged the Centre to ban the app and raid its offices located in big cities.
The Mahadev app racket is under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which has said that it has tracked links to several bureaucrats and political leaders.
A statement issued by the ministry late on Sunday said that it has issued orders to block 22 illegal betting apps and websites, including the Mahadev Book app and Reddyannaprestopro. “The action follows investigations conducted by ED against the illegal betting app syndicate and subsequent raids on Mahadev Book in Chhattisgarh, revealing the app’s unlawful operations,” the release said.
The ED probe has revealed that Mahadev Book is operated by Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal who hail from Bhilai in Chhattisgarh and are running their operations from Dubai.
“Can there be a bigger joke?…” Bhupesh Baghel after ED allegations of receiving ₹508 cr from Mahadev betting app promoters
Union MoS for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “The Chhattisgarh government had all the power to recommend shutting down of website/app under Section 69A IT Act. However, they did not do so and no such request was made by the state government while they have been investigating it for the last 1.5 years. In fact, the first and only request came from ED and action has been taken. Nothing prevented Chhattisgarh government from making similar requests.”
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The ministry’s statement says that accused Bhim Singh Yadav, who is a police constable in Chhattisgarh, and Asim Das are in custody under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
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The ministry added a note on how such rackets work. Mahadev app and similar ones like ‘Reddy Anna’ and ‘Ambani Book’ are online satta platforms and estimated transactions worth Rs 5,000 crore have taken place in the past year via Mahadev app, it says. “The ring leaders are in Dubai, where betting is legal, and the network has around 30 centres in India. The leaders contact local people interested in running the online satta; ‘contracts’ are given for payment of Rs 10-20 lakh for operating one book, and 10-20% dividend is offered for running each book,” it says.
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