Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said he would give a befitting reply to the BJP in the upcoming state assembly polls and wipe it out from the state | File photo

Chhattisgarh CM urges judiciary to take steps against ED, I-T raids

CM Bhupesh Baghel claims ED raids are an attempt to “suppress” and “defame” Chhattisgarh government, urges judiciary to take cognizance of these

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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, firing a fresh salvo at the Union government, has alleged that the ED and I-T raids on his close aides were malicious attempts to “defame” and “suppress” his government. Judiciary must take cognizance of it and take “appropriate steps to save democracy in our federal system”, he said.

Addressing a press conference at the Congress headquarters in Delhi on Thursday (August 24), a day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) searched the premises of his political adviser, Vinod Verma, and two officers on special duty (OSDs), Baghel said he feared more such searches targeted at people close to him for “political mileage” in the ensuing elections.

“ED holding people hostage”

He said he would give a befitting reply to the BJP in the upcoming state assembly polls and wipe out the saffron party from Chhattisgarh. “The ED raids are an attempt to suppress and defame the Chhattisgarh government. The BJP started all this after losing the Jharkhand elections in July 2020. They were silent for two and a half years but have become active again as the elections are approaching in the state,” Baghel told reporters.

“What I came to know is that, for more than 40 hours, the ED did not allow anyone to even sleep. The ED is holding people hostage for more than three to five days in their own home and does not even allow them to buy medicines if someone falls ill. This is pure torture,” he said.

Baghel added: “It seems the ED will contest elections against us, and not the BJP candidates.”

He alleged that the ED was threatening people to sign their paper or risk being sent to jail. “More than 200 raids have been conducted in Chhattisgarh so far. The central government is behind all that was done… Everyone knows about Sanjay Mishra (ED Director),” the Chief Minister said.

“Nothing proved”

“In the next few months, a team of 200 to 250 Income-Tax personnel will conduct raids across Chhattisgarh... But they must understand that as they conduct more raids, their seats will decrease...”

Lashing out at the BJP government, the Chief Minister claimed that when Home Minister Amit Shah visits the state, he only stays at the BJP office and returns to Delhi.

Baghel said even though the probe agencies have been alleging scams to the tune of Rs 2,168 crore in Chhattisgarh, they have been unable to prove these, as the assets recovered in the raids were a mere fraction of that sum.

Baghel said the BJP’s “problem” is that it is baffled how the government procured from farmers 107 lakh metric tonnes of paddy, which earlier used to rot in the open. “We prevented all those losses. That is their worry,” he added.
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