The Centre on Sunday issued a blocking order against 22 illegal betting apps and websites, including Mahadev Book and Reddyannaprestopro, amid an Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe into the betting app syndicate.
“The action follows investigations conducted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against illegal betting app syndicate and subsequent raids on Mahadev Book in Chhattisgarh, revealing the app’s unlawful operations,” the Electronics and Information Technology ministry said in a statement.
The ED raids on Mahadev app has sparked off a political war of words in poll-bound Chhattisgarh after the agency claimed on Friday that one of the ‘couriers’ arrested with Rs 5 crore had disclosed that he was supposed to give the money to a politician named 'Baghel'.
The arrested person, identified as 38-year-old Asim Das, also alleged that the Mahadev betting app promoters had paid about Rs 508 crore to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel so far.
According to the IT ministry, Asim Das and another accused Bhim Singh Yadav, a constable of Chhattisgarh Police, are now in custody after being arrested under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
“Chhattisgarh Government had all the power to recommend shutting down of website/app under Section 69A of the IT Act. However, they did not do so and no such request is made by the state government while they have been investigating it for last one and a half years,” IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.
“In fact, the first and only request has been received from ED and it has been acted upon. Nothing prevented Chhattisgarh Government from making similar requests,” he added.
The Congress has alleged that the claims made by the ED against Baghel are part of a "conspiracy" hatched by the BJP to tarnish the chief minister's image and asserted that the people of the state would give a befitting reply to such tactics in the upcoming Assembly poll.
The BJP alleged that the facts coming out in the case indicate that the Congress has no match in inventing new ways of corruption and cheating.
“Given the new revelations coming in, it won't be an exaggeration to say that the way the Congress is inventing new methods of corruption and cheating, the Chhattisgarh government has perhaps added a new dimension to it. Perhaps it is leaving behind infamous international thugs like Natwarlal and Charles Sobhraj also,” BJP national spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said on Sunday.