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The Hindu
The Hindu
Shubhomoy Sikdar

Man who ‘carried money to deliver to CM Baghel’ denies ED allegations

Days after his arrest in the Mahadev betting app money laundering case, Asim Das – said to be a link between the app promoters and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel –  has refuted the allegations levelled by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED).

During a hearing on Mr. Das’ judicial remand application on Friday, his lawyer Shoaib Alvi moved an appeal to take on record a letter Mr. Das has written to the ED Director in which he denied carrying cash from the UAE-based app promoters to deliver it to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister. The ED had made this claim citing a purported admission by Mr. Das following his arrest and seizure of ₹5.39 crore at his instance earlier this month. 

Mr. Das is currently lodged in the Raipur central jail.

Mr. Alvi said the letter dated November 20 – and addressed to the Director of the ED with copies sent to others, including the PMLA court – was released in the public domain by his client through post.

In the copy of the letter shared by Mr. Alvi, Mr. Das said the claim that he had come to deliver the money (purportedly seized from him) to Mr. Baghel was a “complete lie” and that he was being framed in a conspiracy.

Notably, following Mr. Das’ arrest on November 3, the ED said it was probing an alleged payment of about ₹508 crore by the Mahadev betting app promoters, who are facing serious criminal charges, to Mr. Baghel over a period of time.

Mr. Das goes on to claim in the letter that the money seized from him was given to him by Shubham Soni, one of the high-ranking accused of the Mahadev network, to “start a construction business”.  Mr. Alvi said his client does not know English, the language in which the statement signed by him, was drafted. He came to know about his alleged confessions only after reading them in a newspaper in the prison, Mr. Alvi said.

Meanwhile, the ED in its application seeking extension of Mr. Das’s judicial custody, told the court on Friday that it was still tracing the money trail/proceeds of crime and the persons involved in the laundering of the money. “Investigation into economic crimes is more complex than ordinary crimes as economic offenders are resourceful and influential persons having deep roots in society and commit the said crimes in a carefully planned and meticulous manner, thereby rendering the investigation process a complicated exercise,” it submitted. 

The court extended his judicial custody by 14 days after hearing the arguments.

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