Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday accused Solicitor General Tushar Mehta of levelling politically motivated false allegations against him at the hearing of a Enforcement Directorate case in the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, Mehta told the Supreme Court that Baghel had met a judge two days before he granted bail to two persons accused in the Nagrik Apurti Nigam scam that relates to corruption in the Public Distribution System in Chhattisgarh, reported Live Law.
“I would like to clarify that I have never met any judge and requested them to do any favors for any accused [persons],” Baghel tweeted on Friday.
The chief minister alleged the Mehta’s claims were a conspiracy to malign his political image and to put the judiciary under pressure, adding the move will be retaliated appropriately.
The Supreme Court is hearing the Enforcement Directorate’s plea seeking the transfer of the investigation in the scam outside of Chhattisgarh.
The scam came to light in 2015 during the regime of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government after the Opposition accused it of providing sub-standard rice in the public distribution system, reported the Hindustan Times.
The Nagrik Apurti Nigam is in charge of procuring and and distributing food grains.
Following the allegations, the BJP government launched an investigation in which several officials, including the chairperson and managing director of of the distribution agency were booked.
After the Congress came to power in December 2018, Baghel formed a Special Investigation Team to look into the matter. Soon after, the chairperson and managing director, who had been absconding, applied for anticipatory bail and got the relief in August 2020 by the High Court.
The officials were also reappointed by the Congress government, according to the newspaper.
The Enforcement Directorate has challenged the bail granted to the two officials before the Supreme Court and sought transferring the petition.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Mehta had also alleged that the Special Investigation Team was in touch with the prime accused. He alleged that the SIT has made seven attempts to stall the proceedings in the scam.
“Prime accused was involved in intimidating the officers involved in proceedings,” Mehta further alleged. “The draft report by SIT was vetted by the prime accused first. Son of the prime accused was in touch with the Chief of Economic Offences Wing and two members of the SIT. The accused has received concessions from the present state government.”
On Thursday, the Chhattisgarh government had refuted the Enforcement Directorate’s allegations, reported Live Law. As Chief Justice UU Lalit, who was part of the bench, is set to demit office on November 8, the court said the contentions should be raised before a new bench.