CM Bhagel blasts ED over intimidating Congress workers

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhagel today challenged the Bharatiya Janata Party to fight the forthcoming elections democratically instead of using central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax to intimidate political opponents and disrupt the functioning of his government. The Chief Minister drew the attention of the judiciary to take note of this intimidation and stop it since the state government did not have any other resource or recourse to counter the harassment and intimidation by the central agencies.
Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters in the aftermath of the ED raids on the houses of his close aides in Chhattisgarh yesterday, when it was his birthday, Mr. Bhagel pointed out that the ED had claimed a scam to the tune of Rs 2168 crores but had so far not been able to account for more than Rs 200 crores. He added that, similarly, the ED claimed that the coal scam amount was to the tune of Rs 500 crores but had not been able to provide figures for more than Rs 150 crores.
Referring to the liquor policy, he said it had been made by the previous BJP government. He said the revenue had been increased from Rs 3900 crores to Rs 6500 crores, and despite that, the ED alleges that there has been a loss to the state exchequer. He asserted that the ED has not been able to justify its allegations of loss even after presenting four supplementary challans. He said even the CAG had not raised any questions about it in its successive reports after a thorough audit.
Mr. Bhagel said that if some scam has taken place, then why has the ED not taken any action against the distillers? He pointed out that in the case of any scam, the main accused should be the distiller, who has not been touched. But the only purpose of the ED is to intimidate the people in government to malign and defame it ahead of the elections”, he observed, while adding that such tactics will not benefit the BJP in any way as they will further alienate and antagonise the people of Chhattisgarh. He said that while last time the BJP had been reduced to 15 seats, the number will come down further, particularly after such raids.
He disclosed that the ED was now trying to claim another scam in paddy procurement. He alleged that the BJP was perturbed as to how the entire produce of 107 metric tonnes of paddy was milled on time. He said otherwise, the farmers’ crops would get damaged in the open, as has been reported from Madhya Pradesh and was reported in the past from Chhattisgarh also. Mr. Bhagel said that if the ED was really serious about checking money laundering and punishing the guilty, it should pursue the cases of the Mahadev App scam and the chit fund scam. But their purpose is just political: to intimidate the opponents of the BJP and do its bidding, he remarked.