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'Won't be cowed down by these cowardly threats': Kharge slams ED raids on Cong leaders in Chhattisgarh
New Delhi: Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday hit out the BJP government at the Centre over the ongoing raids at the residential and office addresses of various Congress leaders of Chattisgarh, saying it was misusing the central agency against the ruling party in the state.
Taking to Twitter, Kharge posted, "Raid on our Congress leaders of Chhattisgarh by misuse of ED by Modi government before Congress General Convention in Raipur, shows the cowardice of BJP." The Congress president further alleged that 95 per cent of the raids conducted by ED in the last nine years were on Opposition leaders, mostly from the Congress.
"We are not going to be cowed down by these cowardly threats," Kharge tweeted.
In another tweet, the veteran Congress MP said, "If Modi-ji is so honest, then raid the mega-scams of your "best friend" (Gautam Adani). Due to the immense success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the uneasiness of the BJP is visible."
"We will firmly face this attempt to crush democracy," Kharge said.
Earlier in the day, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted fresh searches at nearly a dozen locations in Chhattishgarh in connection with the alleged mining and coal levy scam.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel's deputy secretary Saumya Chaurasia Vishnoi, coal trader and alleged "main kingpin of the scam" Suryakant Tiwari, his uncle Laxmikant Tiwari and another coal businessman Sunil Agrawal have been arrested in connection with the case till now.
Among the places searched on Monday were residential and office addresses of Congress leaders Ram Gopal Agarwal, Girish Devangan, RP Singh, Vinod Tiwari and Sunny Agrawal, said sources.
Last month, the ED had also raided multiple locations in Chhattisgarh, including that of an IAS officer, and other locations in connection with the ongoing money laundering probe into the alleged scam.
The federal investigation agency launched a probe in October last year after it raided another IAS officer of the state, Sameer Vishnoi, and some businessmen.
Sameer Vishnoi IAS Officer of 2009 Batch and his wife were found to be in possession of Rs 47 lakh in unaccounted cash and 4 kg gold jewellery.
The investigation relates to "a massive scam in which illegal levy of Rs 25 was being extorted for every tonne of coal transported in Chhattisgarh by a cartel involving senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians and middlemen", the agency alleged.
The ED had earlier claimed in a statement that Chaurasia, Vishnoi and some coal traders allegedly linked to them "used" their relatives to create "benami" assets after it attached their properties worth more than Rs 150 crore in December, last year.
The agency alleged further that a "grand conspiracy" was hatched in the resource-rich state to perpetrate a coal levy 'scam' as part of which Rs 540 crore was "extorted" over the last two years.
The money laundering case stems from an Income Tax department complaint registered following raids by the taxman in June 2022. (ANI)