Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal on Friday wrote to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman calling for an investigation into allegations of quid pro quo between the Bharatiya Janata Party and corporate donors who have faced action by central investigative agencies.

On February 20, news websites Newslaundry and The News Minute published a joint investigation which showed that at least 30 companies that donated nearly Rs 335 crore to the BJP in the last five financial years faced action by central agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax Department in the same time frame.

Of the total, 23 companies had never donated money to the BJP before they were raided by investigative agencies.

Some firms gave higher amounts of money to the BJP after facing searches, while some faced action after they skipped giving money in a year, the investigation found. In one case, a distillery in Madhya Pradesh donated money to the BJP just days after its owners were released on bail, the report said.

On Friday, Venugopal wrote in the letter that the investigation raises serious questions about the institutional independence, autonomy and professionalism of central agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department.

“The entire nation knows how investigative agencies are being remote controlled by your government,” wrote the Congress leader. “This has been testified by a four-fold increase in Enforcement Directorate cases against politicians since 2014, and 95% of the cases are against the Opposition leaders.”

Venugopal clarified that while he and Congress are not alleging that the cases filed by central agencies are illegal, the claims made by the investigative reports warrant an investigation.

He stated that the Newslaundry and The News Minute investigations reveal a “clear-cut case of legal extortion” in the form of political donations.

The Congress leader also posed three questions to the finance minister. He asked if the Centre would present a “white paper” on the BJP’s finances that would include not just the sources but also “how you coerced corporate firms to donate, by misusing investigative agencies against them”.

He also asked if Sitharaman was willing to present a rebuttal on events that led to “the filling of BJP’s treasury”. Further, Venugopal asked if the BJP-led government would be willing to cooperate with a Supreme Court-monitored investigation into the donations.