ED must reveal what is found during raids on Congress workers in Chhattisgarh: Baghel

Raipur: After the Enforcement Directorate attached the assets of Congress leaders and others in Chhattisgarh in connection with an alleged coal levy scam, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Tuesday told the central agency to reveal what was recovered from each individual during its raids on their premises. He said after the Opposition BJP in Chhattisgarh failed to take on the Congress government on its own, it roped in the ED to achieve its political goal.

Talking to reporters at the helipad here in Police Lines, the Congress leader asked why the anti-money laundering agency has not probed the alleged loot committed by the Raman Singh-led BJP government for 15 years (2003-18) in the state.

The ED, in a statement on Tuesday, said it has provisionally attached 90 immovable assets, luxurious vehicles, jewellery and cash worth over Rs 51 crore belonging to Chhattisgarh Congress MLAs Devender Yadav, Chandradev Prasad Rai, state Congress treasurer Ramgopal Agarwal, Congress leaders RP Singh, Vinod Tiwari, IAS officer Ranu Sahu and coal trader Suryakant Tiwari in the illegal coal levy extortion scam in Chhattisgarh.

Asked about the move, Baghel said, “I am saying it (ED) should tell how much it has seized from whom. How much they have recovered from our party workers Ramgopal Agrawal, Girish Dewangan, Sunny Agrawal, RP Singh and Vinod Tiwari.

“They should tell what they have recovered from Suryakant Tiwari, Saumya Chaurasia, Sameer Vishnoi and Sunil Agrawal. From those who are businessmen and traders, they (ED) will definitely find money.. but the ED must tell what they have recovered from our party workers individually?” The CM said the central agency must come clean on recoveries made by it. “I welcome the ED’s press note which was released after my statement (on Monday). But it should at least tell what the agency has recovered from (Congress leaders) RP Singh, Ramgopal Agarwal and Vinod Tiwari separately”, he added.

Further slamming the BJP, Baghel said, “The Raman Singh-led BJP ruled the state for 15 years. The Reserve Bank of India’s 2019 report revealed that 40 per cent of Chhattisgarh’s population was under Below Poverty Line (BPL). The BJP kept looting people for 15 years. While the poor become poorer, BJP workers became richer.”

“A scam in the civil supply department was unearthed during the previous BJP government. Why the ED did not probe corruption committed during the Raman Singh government?” he asked. The CM maintained that since coming to power in Chhattisgarh in 2018, the Congress has worked for the welfare of people.

“The biggest court is the people’s’ court which is watching everything. Our government has worked for the welfare of people through various schemes like Rajiv Gandhi Nyay Yojna, unemployment allowance or Bhoomihin Sharmik Nyay Yojna,” he added.

The ED had earlier attached assets of IAS officer Sameer Vishnoi and powerful state service bureaucrat Saumya Chaurasia, who are among nine persons arrested in the coal levy case. The investigation relates to allegations of “a massive scam in which an 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 central agency had earlier said.