Even as Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel asserted that he was the one who sent requests for banning the Mahadev App and also for issuing LOC against its promoters, one of the accused on Sunday came out with a video statement claiming that Chief Minister himself had asked him to flee to the UAE.
Shubham Soni, who is wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case involving Mahadev app, in a video statement from Dubai said that he is the real owner of the app and had formed the company in 2021 and the gambling business was going all good when it started receiving attention from all corners and thus protection was required as a few people were getting arrested.
Soni further said that he then got in touch with a person named Verma, who then demanded for protection money to the tune of Rs 10 lakh per month.
"After this payment of Rs 10 lakh per month started, once again our people got arrested and I dialed Verma and asked him. He then said that let me arrange a meeting of yours with some high profile person," Soni claimed, alleging that then Verma took him to Chief Minister and one more person, who were there in the meeting.
"I have given my statement to the ED in writing," he can be heard speaking in the video.
Soni further said that after his meeting with the Chief Minister he came to Dubai on his advice to expand his business. He said that in Dubai, he met two persons from Bhilai -- Sourabh and Ravi (both accused named in the case) and thought to invest in real construction business.
However, Soni claimed that Baghel again changed his stand and after his people were arrested, then he again complained to Verma and was asked to come to Bhilai.
"I reached Bhilai, and from there we spoke to Baghel over phone, who said told me that I had sent you to Dubai to see your business and you became the owner," he claimed.
The ED, in a statement on Friday, said that a forensic analysis and a statement made by a ‘cash courier’ had led to “startling allegations” that the promoters of the Mahadev betting app paid about Rs 508 crore to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister so far, and that "these are subject matter of investigation".
The ED also claimed that it had recovered Rs 5.39 crore cash from the courier, whom it identified as Asim Das. A charge sheet was recently filed by the ED in the Mahadev app case where a total of 14 accused were named including main promoters Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal.
Polling for 90 member assembly in Chhattisgarh is scheduled on Noveember 7 and 17 in two phases and counting of votes will take place on December 3.