ED claims Baghel’s political advisor helped cop bribe seniors; he says allegations fabricated

The Directorate of Enforcement (ED), which is probing the alleged cash laundering angle of the Mahadev on-line gaming app rip-off, has claimed that officers linked to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister’s Workplace had facilitated hefty kickbacks.

The ED has accused Chhattisgarh Police Assistant Sub Inspector Chandra Bushan Verma – one of many 4 arrested within the case to this point – of bribing his seniors with the assistance of Vinod Verma, a political advisor to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.

At a press convention on Thursday, Mr. Vinod Verma refuted these prices, denying any affiliation with Mr. Chandra Bushan Verma. A 57-year-old ex-journalist, Mr. Vinod Verma was considered one of a number of of Mr. Baghel’s aides whose properties have been raided by the ED on Wednesday, an motion he termed as “loot and dacoity”.

₹65 cr bribes

In an announcement issued late Wednesday, following the arrests of Mr. Chandra Bhushan Verma and three others, the ED had stated that “though ASI Chandra Bushan Verma will not be a really senior officer within the Police hierarchy, however by means of his relationship with Vinod Verma (Political Advisor to CM) and with the assistance of cash energy acquired from kickbacks despatched by Ravi Uppal [one of the two main accused] in Dubai, he has managed to affect senior officers”. The three others arrested have been businessmen brothers Sunil Dammani and Anil Dammani, and Satish Chandrakar.

The ED pegged the cumulative quantity of the purported bribes given to senior cops and politicians at ₹65 crore. The company additionally claimed that an enormous quantity of incriminating paperwork have been seized in the course of the raids carried out on August 21 and 23.

‘ED has no proof’

Mr. Vinod Verma contested each the claims. “The ED is saying that I’m concerned in laundering of ₹65 crore, I need to say I’ve not laundered even a single penny. I’m not associated to ASI Verma. What proof have they got that I’m associated to him ? Additionally, what proof have they got that we have been in contact? This raid relies on rumour and assertion of only one individual in opposition to me. They haven’t any proof in any respect,” he stated, on the press convention held on the State Congress headquarters in Raipur earlier than leaving for Delhi with Mr. Baghel.

On the seizures constituted of his residence in Raipur, Mr. Vinod Verma stated that he had produced money receipts of all of the money (which he stated amounted to over ₹2 lakh, together with a sum acquired as a present at his son’s marriage ceremony) and jewelry (purchased between 2005 and 2023) discovered by the ED.

“They nonetheless seized all the pieces and took away. No matter I had at residence was accounted for, all six members of my household have a supply of earnings,” he stated.

Political angle

Mr. Vinod Verma claimed that each one the allegations made by the ED have been based mostly on a “fictional information article” printed in {a magazine} final October. He famous that, in December 2022, he had filed a police grievance in opposition to the journal and the author, displaying copies of each the paperwork. He added that he would now file a defamation case in opposition to the journal as properly.

He drew a parallel to his 2017 arrest on prices of extortion in reference to a CD (which he claims was later dropped by the Central Bureau of Investigation) and stated that the BJP-led Central authorities was working to decimate the Opposition by such means.

“That is dictatorship by [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi and [Union Home Minister] Amit Shah. These actions are being taken in view of the political state of affairs in Chhattisgarh that’s unfavourable for the BJP and so they need to drag people who find themselves near the Chief Minister. I shall be completely happy if ED proves me fallacious and brings proof,” he stated.

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