The Congress on Wednesday sought the Election Commission’s intervention to stop the “misuse” of central agencies by the Union government to target the governments in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan ahead of the Assembly polls, The Indian Express reported.
While the first phase of polls concluded in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, the second phase will be held on November 17. Rajasthan will vote on November 25.
Days before the polls in 20 out of 90 seats in Chhattisgarh, the Enforcement Directorate had alleged that Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel was paid Rs 508 crore by the promoters of the now-banned betting app Mahadev App.
The Congress has denied the allegations and claimed that the central agency is attempting to tarnish Baghel’s image and influence the elections.
The Opposition party submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission on Wednesday saying that the press release by the central agency on November 3, just days before the first phase of polling on Tuesday, falsely linked Baghel to the “ill-gotten money being attributed to the Mahadev app case”, reported The Indian Express.
“The hasty nature in which the press release has been issued without conducting even basic due diligence before its issuance and callously including the name of a sitting CM clearly indicates the malicious and politically motivated nature of ED and misuse of the investigating agencies by the BJP which being in power in Centre remote-controls these agencies to fulfil its political objectives,” the party said.
The Chhattisgarh Police started the investigation into the Mahadev app case eight months ago and the chief minister had also demanded the arrest of the accused. But the central government did nothing then, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters on Wednesday.
“As soon as the elections approached, BJP leaders, the prime minister and the Enforcement Directorate started bringing new things to the fore,” he said. “Why didn’t the central government ban this app earlier?”
Besides Chhattisgarh, the central agency conducted raids in Rajasthan, where Assembly polls will be held on November 25.
On November 3, the Enforcement Directorate conducted raids in Rajasthan on minister Mahesh Joshi and others in connection with a money-laundering investigation into the implementation of the Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission scheme by the state Public Health Engineering Department. The scheme aims to provide safe and adequate drinking water through tap connections in homes.
Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha MP Kirodi Lal Meena has alleged that tenders worth Rs 900 crore were issued to two companies based on fake experience certificates in 48 projects of the scheme.
The November 3 raids came after the central agency issued summons to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot for questioning in a case related to alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.
The Congress memorandum to the polling body said that these developments impinge on the level playing field for political parties ahead of elections.