The Enforcement Directorate on Monday searched several premises linked to Congress party leaders in Chhattisgarh as part of its investigation in an illegal mining case, PTI reported.

The searches were carried out at locations linked to MLA Devendra Yadav in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee treasurer Ramgopal Agrawal, Chhattisgarh State Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board chairperson Sushil Sunny Agrawal and party’s state spokesperson RP Singh in Raipur.

The searches took place ahead of the plenary session of the Congress in Raipur, scheduled to be held between February 24 to February 26. At the meet, the party is likely to decide on its strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The central agency’s money laundering investigation, based on a complaint by the Income Tax department, is linked to an alleged scam in which an illegal levy of Rs 25 per tonne was extorted from coal transported in Chhattisgarh by senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians and middlemen.

In December, the agency had arrested Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s deputy secretary for her alleged involvement in the case.

On Monday, the Enforcement Directorate said that it was investigating the beneficiaries of the proceeds of crime of the alleged scam perpetrated during the tenure of the current government, reported PTI.

The Congress said that the searches were an example of the “third-rate politics” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said it will not be intimidated by them.

“Let the raids happen,” Congress General Secretary in charge of communications Jairam Ramesh said. “We will not back down. Will fight it hard.”

Baghel claimed that the searches were initiated in response to the success of the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra and to hide the controversy related to the Adani Group.

The conglomerate led by tycoon Gautam Adani has lost about $120 billion in market value since a January 24 report by American investment firm Hindenburg Research alleged that it had engaged in stock manipulation and accounting fraud to pull off the “largest con in corporate history”.

Opposition leaders have accused the Modi government of favouring the conglomerate in business deals.

“This raid is an attempt to divert attention,” Baghel claimed on Monday. “The country knows the truth. We will fight and win.”

Also read: How the Modi government has weaponised the ED to go after India’s Opposition