Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel has suggested that the Narendra Modi government is fighting the political battle in the election-bound state with the help of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and income tax department, predicting more raids and coercive politics.
Addressing a media conference in Delhi, the Congress leader said: “You all know about Sanjay Mishra (ED director). He was given an extension till September 15. In the remaining 15-20 days, he is creating as much terror as he can to please his political masters. He may get some other post after that. The way the ED is operating… democracy is in danger. The Supreme Court should intervene.”
The Supreme Court had objected to the frequent extensions given to Mishra after his retirement and ordered his immediate exit. But the Narendra Modi government pleaded with the court for his continuance till September 15. Many Opposition parties, including the Congress, have described the ED as the BJP’s “Election Department” and accused the agency of selectively targeting Modi’s political rivals while letting off the tainted leaders who joined the ruling party.
The Opposition is expected to see a design in Mishra’s possible continuance in the system as over 90 per cent of the cases the ED has filed in the past few years are against political opponents of the BJP, with the conviction rate being very low.
Claiming that the ED and the income tax department had conducted at least 200 raids in Chhattisgarh so far, Baghel said: “After the ED, comes the IT. Then the ED returns. This is what we are grappling with. They can enter any home without an ECIR (enforcement case information report) and detain people for two-three days. They beat up people, asking them to sign papers and name political persons. They don’t even allow the persons to sleep for two-three days, and interrogate mostly at night.”
Denying any wrongdoing, Baghel said: “The issue is Modi’s friends have set their sights on mines. The Congress government has become a hurdle. That’s why they are creating instability and are terrorising us. In the coal scam, the accused are screaming who they worked for. But there is no action against them....”
Alleging that the BJP establishment wanted to defame his government before the election, Baghel said: “They are investigating a liquor scam but there is no action against the distiller. Now they are suspecting a paddy scam as well. They have also asked for details of all the plots registered in the last five years in the state. There is no case but this information is being collected with malafide intent. They conducted raids on the day our AICC plenary started in Raipur. Now they have raided my political adviser and OSDs. But we are not scared.”