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ED arrests four persons after conducting raids on CM Baghel's two OSDs, political advisor

If they (BJP) keep on targeting like this, then this time they will not be able to get even 15 seats, said Congress leader and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel after the ED raids.

Edited By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 Raipur Updated on: September 04, 2023 13:57 IST
CM Baghel calls ED's action as political vendetta
Image Source : PTI/FILE CM Baghel calls ED's action as political vendetta

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday arrested four people, including assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Chandrabhushan Verma after conducting raids on the premises of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel's political advisor Vinod Verma and two Officers on Special Duty (OSDs) in Raipur and Durg districts. 

"ED has arrested ASI Chandrabhushan Verma of Chhattisgarh Police, along with Satish Chandrakar, Hawala operators Anil & Sunil Dammani under the provisions of PMLA 2002 in the ongoing money laundering investigation into the Mahadev Online Book APP case," posted ED on X, formerly Twitter.

Baghel's reaction

Reacting to the ED's action, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel said, "ED raids were conducted when our party's national session was held in Raipur. Today on my birthday also raids are being conducted. BJP has lost and ED and IT are fighting elections. They should not think they will remain in power forever... People are seeing all this and will give them a befitting reply... If they keep on targeting like this, then this time they will not be able to get even 15 seats."

CM Baghel, who turned 62 on Wednesday, in a sarcastic post on X said, "Respected Prime Minister and Mr. Amit Shah! Thank you very much for the priceless gift you have given me on my birthday by sending ED to my political advisor, OSD and close aides."

Some paramilitary personnel were seen at the residence of the CM's political advisor Vinod Verma in the Officers Colony at Devendra Nagar in state capital Raipur and the houses of OSDs Ashish Verma and Manish Banchhor in old Bhilai area of Durg.

Security personnel were also seen outside the house of businessman Vijay Bhatia in Nehrunagar area of Bhilai in Durg. Supporters of Ashish Verma and Banchhor gathered outside their residences and shouted slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre, accusing it of misusing central agencies against political opponents.

Banchhor, who is an employee of the SAIL's Bhilai Steel Plant, is posted as the CM's OSD on deputation. The ED has been investigating different cases in Chhattisgarh pertaining to an alleged coal scam, liquor scam, irregularities in the District Mineral Foundation fund and an online betting application.

In the last two days, the ED conducted searches at several locations in Raipur and Durg, apparently in connection with online betting activities, according to sources.

In December last year, the ED arrested Saumya Chaurasia, a state cadre officer who was posted as deputy secretary in Chief Minister's Office, in connection with its investigation into the alleged coal scam in which, as per the agency, an "illegal levy of Rs 25 was being extorted for every tonne of coal transported in Chhattisgarh by a cartel involving senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians and middlemen."

(Report by Alok Shukla/PTI)

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