The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday conducted raids at the Jodhpur house of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s brother and 16 other locations in a case related to the illegal export of fertiliser, reported PTI.
The raids were conducted in Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
The central agency has filed a case in which Agrasen Gehlot and 14 other persons and entities have been named.
Officials said the agency has named Deen Dayal Vohra, Amrit Lal Bandi, Brijesh Jairam Nath, Nitin Kumar Shah, Sunil Sharma and Praveen Saraf among others as accused persons in the first information report.
Gehlot is also being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the alleged scam. The Enforcement Directorate had raided his office in Jodhpur in July 2020.
The case pertains to alleged illegal export of Muriate of Potash, also known as potassium chloride, The Indian Express reported. The fertiliser is imported by Indian Potash Limited and distributed to farmers through companies at subsidised rates.
The Enforcement Directorate has claimed that Agrasen Gehlot, who was an authorised dealer of Muriate of Potash, bought the chemical compound at subsidised rates and allegedly sold it to some companies instead of disturbing it to farmers between 2007 and 2009. The agency claimed that Muriate of Potash was sold in the guise of industrial salts to buyers in Malaysia and Taiwan.
BJP will ultimately suffer: Rajasthan CM
Meanwhile, Ashok Gehlot said that the raids would ultimately harm the Bharatiya Janata Party, reported PTI.
“The more they [BJP] harass the people of the country, the more adverse impact they will suffer,” Gehlot told reporters in Jaipur after he returned from Delhi.
The chief minister and several other Congress leaders have been in the national capital to protest against the questioning of party MP Rahul Gandhi in a money-laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper.
“If I am active in Delhi or have participated in this movement for Rahul Gandhi, then why is revenge being taken from my brother?” Gehlot asked. “When there was a political crisis here in our government in 2020, at that time also the ED had raided my brother’s place.”
The raids in 2020 had been conducted amid a political crisis in Rajasthan after former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and some other MLAs had rebelled against the chief minister.
On Friday, Gehlot said that he had sought an appointment on June 13 with the heads of the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department.
“on [June] 15 the case was registered, and on June 17 there were raids,” he said. “What is this approach, it is beyond comprehension?”
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh described the raids as “vendetta politics”.
He added, “Ashok Gehlot was at the forefront of the protests in Delhi over the past three days, and this is Modi government’s brazen response. We will not be silenced.”