Chhattisgarh(Raipur)IndiaStates and Capitals

Chhattisgarh: The ED raids the homes of Congress leaders just days before the party’s Raipur meeting.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday raided premises linked to at least eight ruling Congress leaders and office bearers in Chhattisgarh in a money laundering case linked to the alleged illegal levies on coal.

The raids occurred just days before the Congress’s core decision-making body’s 85th session, which is scheduled to take place in Raipur from February 24 to 26. Approximately 15,000 delegates will attend the plenary to address the political situation, economy, foreign policy, agriculture, employment, social justice, and other issues, as well as to set the tone for the Congress’s national election campaign in 2024.

The ED conducted searches in Raipur, the state capital, and Durg. “Premises of various prominent leaders, spokespersons, and a legislator have been raided, and more details are awaited,” stated an unnamed police officer.

According to sources familiar with the situation, chief minister Bhupesh Baghel summoned an emergency conference to discuss the raids.

According to the ED, a cartel of bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians, and middlemen illegally imposed charges of $25 per tonne on coal delivered in the state.

According to the ED, the gang was running a “parallel system of extorting illegal levies” and making approximately 2-3 crore each day.

On October 11, the CBI detained three people including Indian Administrative Service officer Sameer Vishnoi and businessman Sunil Agrawal under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the case. Suryakant Tiwari, a businessman and accused kingpin, is among those arrested in the case.

Saumya Chaurasia, Baghel’s deputy secretary, was arrested on December 2. It was claimed that Chaurasia’s WhatsApp conversations revealed that she was sharing all of the government’s confidential information with Tiwari.

In New Delhi, Congress leader Pawan Khera hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the raids and said ED now stands for “eliminating democracy” or “exterminating democracy”. He further stated that the BJP conducts raids on political groups for political benefit.

Khera claimed that 95% of ED raids since the BJP took control at the Government in 2014 have targeted the opposition. He also stated that Congress has been the target of 24 raids since 2014.

Khera has urged the government to launch raids on BJP leaders Suvendu Adhikari, BS Yediyurappa, Narayan Rane, and Himanta Biswa Sarma, all of whom are facing criminal charges.

Khera questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the claims levied against the Adani Group by American short-seller Hindenburg Research. “Why isn’t he looking into it?”

According to Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, the ED was raiding their counterparts in Chhattisgarh at Modi’s request. “Six or five of our most senior colleagues have been raided since the morning.”

Ramesh charged the administration with utilising the ED to target the opposition party. “Clearly, this is politics of vendetta, retribution, and harassment…”

He connected the searches to their plenary meeting in Raipur. “We are not afraid or intimidated, and we have nothing to conceal. Modi’s true policy is one of fear, deception, and intimidation.”

He claimed that the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra brought about a political shift and that its success had rattled the government.

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