‘Politics of revenge’: Congress slams BJP over ED searches in Raipur

| Updated: 20 February, 2023 2:26 pm IST
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh has called PM Modi a 'dictator PM'
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the Bill has not lapsed yet and can be revived.

Hours after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday carried out searches at 13 locations linked to Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh, the Congress slammed the BJP for doing politics of “revenge and harassment”.

Addressing a press conference in the national capital at the party headquarters, Congress General Secretary and Communication in-charge Jairam Ramesh said, “This morning we have seen the best example of politics of revenge and harassment in Raipur as premises of several of our party leaders have been raided by the ED.”

He said 17 opposition parties have already come together against grant of powers to the ED under the PMLA and the opposition will jointly file the review petition in the Supreme Court against its previous judgement on the issue.

“The way in which ED is raiding the opposition parties makes it clear that the ED is not working in a transparent and fair manner. It has become a tool in hands of our Prime Minister for revenge, harassment, and oppression,” Ramesh said.

Ramesh coined a new phrase to describe ED – Exterminating Democracy.

He said that five or six of Congress’ senior leaders have been raided since morning.

“This is clearly the politics of vendetta, politics of vengeance, politics of harassment and this is supposed to be a curtain raiser for the 85th Plenary of the Congress. We are not afraid, we have nothing to hide. We will not be intimidated. I have repeatedly said- Modi’s policy of FDI is- Fear, Deceit, and Intimidation. This is his real FDI policy. We will not be afraid, we will not be intimidated and we will not be cowed down,” the Congress leader said.

Ramesh said that the success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra followed by the ‘Haath Se Haath Jodo Abhiyan’ has brought about a transformation in Indian politics.

“We have shaken this government; we are asking three questions every day, 14 consecutive days. We have asked questions of the Prime Minister directly on how he has helped businessman Gautam Adani, perpetrate this giant fraud and scam on the people of India,” he said, questioning the silence of the Prime Minister.

Questioning the PM’s alleged silence on several issues, he said, “He is quite on the Chinese incursions. He is quite on the ‘Adani Maha Mega Scam’ . He has unleashed the ED on the Congress party. But the agency is not being used against people who are actually in the wrong. And the moment someone with an ED case switches to BJP, they apply a fair and lovely scheme on that person. After joining BJP, the corrupt become innocent. Congress president described in Rajya Sabha, what was later expunged, as BJP washing machine,” Congress leader said.

He further said that if anything, “these raids have increased our determination, if anything, these raids have given us a booster dose to be even more aggressive against the Prime Minister and his third-grade politics of vengeance, vendetta, and harassment”.
The 85th Plenary, where about 15,000 delegates are expected to participate will adopt six resolutions, said Ramesh.

Earlier, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel took potshots at the Central agency saying it was an attempt to divert attention from main issues ahead of the party’s 85th Plenary Session.

Baghel took to Twitter and in a series of tweets slammed the financial probe agency.

He said, “ED raided the premises of Chhattisgarh Congress treasurer, former party vice chief, and an MLA besides several other leaders. After 4 days Congress Plenary Session is planned in Raipur. By raiding the premises of leaders engaged in preparations our spirits cannot be broken.”

“BJP is frustrated with the success of Bharat Jodo Yatra and the truth of Adani coming out in open. This raid is an attempt to divert attention. The country knows the truth and we will fight and win,” he said in another tweet.

His remarks came following the ED searches at party leaders’ premises in the state since 5 a.m. in the morning in connection illegal coal mining levy scam.

Meanwhile, Pawan Khera said that the opposition party leaders who joined the BJP are now moving freely despite the ED and CBI cases against them.

Khera said that the government is shocked by the success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra and the Adani issue has put the government on the back foot.

“And it is clear that the investigative agencies are now not fair any longer. It doesn’t take action against the ruling party,” Khera added.

Ramesh further added that there is an undeclared emergency in the country today as agencies are only targeting the opposition leaders. “And these. issues will be discussed during the Plenary Session in Raipur,” Ramesh added

According to ED officials, the agency sleuths started their searches at the premises of Chhattisgarh state unit Treasurer Ram Gopal Agarwal, party spokesperson RP Singh, MLA Devendra Yadav, another party leader Sunil Sunny Agarwal, and others.

The case is related to an illegal mining levy scam in the state in which the ED had arrested IAS officer Saumya Chaurasia and others.

Chaurasia was the former Deputy secretary in CMO. The ED also arrested Deepesh Taunk – a close confidant of Chaurasia, mining officers Sandeep Kumar Nayak (Surajpur) and Shiv Shankar Nag (Korba), Rajesh Chaudhary, and another accused Suryakant Tiwari.

The ED had earlier issued attached proceeds of crime worth Rs 152.5 crores and has filed a chargesheet under the PMLA.

The ED had earlier carried out searches in Chhattisgarh, Delhi, and Pune in connection with the case which pertains to the extortion of an illegal levy of  Rs 25 per tonne for each tonne of coal that was transported in Chhattisgarh by a cartel involving senior bureaucrats, businessmen politicians, and middlemen.

The development comes just four days before the party’s 85th Plenary Session in Raipur on February 24 in which all top politicians of the Congress will be in attendance.

 

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