New Delhi : 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 the 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, 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, 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 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 also not raised any questions about it in its successive reports after thorough audit.
Bhagel said, if some scam has taken place, then why the ED has not taken any action against the distillers. He pointed out, in 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, such tactics will not benefit the BJP in any way as these will further alienate and antagonise people of Chhattisgarh. He said, 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.
The popular Congress Chief Minister, in a pithy remark said, the BJP is nowhere seen in the state and it is only the ED and the IT which is on the ground fighting for the BJP. “But we are not scared of dying, we are not scared of fighting and we are not scared of going to jail”, he asserted, while pointing out the people of Chhattisgarh are great fighters who have taken on Maoists head on.
“IF the BJP is confident about Modi Ji’s appeal, why is it not fighting elections in his name but is using the ED and the IT”, he asked.
He alleged that the ED had let loose a reign of terror on the Congress workers. He said, people were being kept hostage in their houses for days together by the ED officials who do not even bother about the elderly. He said, people are being forced under duress to make signatures otherwise threatened with jail without bail. He accused the ED Director Sanjay Misra of following the diktats of his masters to finish his job till September 15, when his term comes to an end.
Bhagel said, 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.