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BJP’s vendetta politics: Raids on Opposition under Modi 2.0

The BJP has been accused of using the federal investigation agencies to run a witchhunt campaign driven by vendetta against Opposition parties. Here is a timeline since 2019.

BJP's vendetta politics: Raids on Opposition under Modi 2.0
Narendra Modi

Recently, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also one of the co-founders of the city-state’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), for his alleged role in preparing a contentious liquor policy.

Sisodia’s arrest has evoked a strong response from the AAP, which has its roots in India’s anti-corruption movement in 2012, and the party has alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been using the CBI against Sisodia and other top AAP leaders-cum-ministers to settle scores with the party after losing the city-state’s assembly and municipal elections to it.

The Opposition in India has been alleging that Prime Minister Modi-led BJP government has been unleashing federal investigation agencies against the prominent opponents of the government in a bid to gag their voice and suppress dissent.

This article will show the timeline of some of the major corruption allegations levelled against prominent Opposition politicians since Modi’s landslide victory in his reelection bid in 2019.

September 2019, Karnataka's DK Shivakumar

The Congress party and the Janata Dal (Secular) [JD(S)] formed a coalition government in the southern state of Karnataka following the 2018 Assembly elections. However, soon after the BJP managed to sweep the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, decimating the Opposition, the Karnataka government was toppled through a sudden coup. The BJP managed to form the government in the state.

After the BJP seized power in Karnataka, riding on the support of JD(S) and Congress turncoats, a witchhunt was started against the Opposition.

 

Congress leader DK Shivakumar was a prime target for the federal agencies. 

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Shivakumar on September 4th 2019, for allegedly laundering money and suspicious transactions done abroad through shell companies.

DK Shivakumar
DK Shivakumar, a Karnataka Congress leader, was arrested by the ED on September 4th 2019 on money laundering charges.

July 2020, Kerala gold smuggling case

On July 5th 2020, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and the Customs Department seized gold worth Rs 148.2m from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram Airport. The gold was allegedly found in a diplomatic bag meant to be delivered to the UAE’s consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) accused Swapna Suresh, allegedly a close confidante of M Sivasankar, who was the principal secretary to Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala, led by Vijayan’s Communist Party of India (Marxist), came under the BJP’s attack. The BJP accused the LDF of smuggling gold. Sivasankar was suspended and then removed from his post after a preliminary inquiry.

February 2022, Maharashtra's Nawab Malik

Nawab Malik
The ED arrested Nawab Malik in an alleged case of money laundering.

On February 23rd 2022, the ED arrested Maharashtra’s Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) leader Nawab Malik in an alleged money laundering case involving the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Since his arrest, his regular press briefings against the BJP ended, and the NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress coalition government collapsed after a split took place in the Shiv Sena.

May 2022, Delhi's Satyendra Jain

The ED arrested Delhi’s former health minister Satyendra Jain on May 30th 2022, in an alleged money laundering case. The case was registered based on a CBI complaint against the AAP leader in 2017 under Prevention of Corruption Act. Jain has been accused of laundering money through shell companies allegedly linked to him and his family.

July 2022, Tamil Nadu's Karti Chidambaram

The CBI raided Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram’s residence in Chennai. He has been accused in a cash-for-visa scam, for which the CBI seized documents and electronic gadgets from his place. The Congress condemned it as a vendetta by the BJP, which suffered in the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections held in 2021.

July 2022, West Bengal's Partha Chatterjee

The ED arrested West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) general secretary and education minister Partha Chatterjee, on July 23rd 2022, in the School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment scam. The agencies alleged that a huge cache of unaccounted cash was found in the house of one of Chatterjee’s close confidantes.  Chatterjee is still behind the bars and has alleged that there has been a conspiracy to frame him.

Partha Chatterjee
The ED arrested TMC leader and West Bengal's former education minister Partha Chatterjee for his alleged role in the SSC recruitment scam.

July 2022, New Delhi's Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi was questioned by the ED on her role in the National Herald scam on July 27th 2022

On July 27th 2022, the ED questioned former Congress presidents Sonia and Rahul Gandhi for their alleged roles in the money laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper case. The report against the duo was filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in 2019.

Rahul Gandhi
The ED questioned Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on July 27th regarding the National Herald scam.

August 2022, Maharashtra's Sanjay Raut

Sanjay Raut
Sanjay Raut was arrested by the ED in August 2022

Shiv Sena’s spokesperson Sanjay Raut was arrested by the ED from Mumbai on August 1st 2022. He was accused of money laundering and irregularities pertaining to the re-development of Patra Chawl in Mumbai’s Goregaon. Raut was vocal against the BJP and its attempt to dislodge the Maharashtra government led by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance. He later got bail from a lower court, which termed his apprehension, illegal.

August & September 2022, West Bengal's Abhishek Banerjee

TMC’s MP and second-in-command Abhishek Banerjee has been accused in a coal smuggling and money laundering case. He was summoned to New Delhi’s ED office twice in August and September 2022. His TMC defeated the BJP in the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections, and it claims that the BJP has framed Banerjee with malicious intent.

Abhishek Banerjee
TMC MP and its second in-command Abhishek Banerjee is accused in a money laundering case.

November 2022, Telangana's Gangula Kamalakar

The ED raided premises linked to Telangana minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (now Bharat Rastra Samiti or BRS) leader Gangula Kamalakar on November 10th 2022, as part of a money laundering probe related to an alleged granite scam. The BRS accused the Union government of using the ED as a political tool.

 

November 2022, Jharkhand's Hemanta Soren

Hemanta Soren
The ED summoned and grilled Jharkhand CM Hemanta Soren in a coal mine scam case.

On November 18th 2022, the ED summoned and grilled Hemanta Soren, the chief minister of Jharkhand and leader of the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), in an alleged case of coal mine allocation scam. The JMM and Soren denied any links with the scam, while the BJP upped its ante against the state government. 

February 2023, Andhra Pradesh's Raghav Magunta

On February 11th 2023, the ED arrested Raghav Magunta, son of Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, YSR Congress Party MP from Ongole, in connection with the money laundering investigation into alleged irregularities in the Delhi excise policy case.

February 2023, Chhattisgarh government

Before the onset of the Congress party’s All-India Congress Committee’s (AICC) summit in Chhattisgarh, the ED raided three government departments in the state ruled by the main Opposition party. The Congress condemned the move and accused the Modi government and the BJP of using the ED to disrupt the AICC summit. The ED claimed it is investigating an alleged coal levy scam that took place under the Congress party’s rule in the state.

February 2023, Delhi's Manish Sisodiya

The CBI arrested Manish Sisodiya, Delhi’s deputy chief minister, on February 27th 2023. The CBI has been probing the alleged excise policy scam in the city-state. The AAP called the arrest of its co-founders and second-in-command a handiwork of Modi’s BJP. The AAP staged nationwide protests against Sisodia’s arrest, while most Opposition parties, sans the Congress, condemned the CBI’s action and called it politically-motivated.

Manish Sisodiya
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodiya was arrested by the CBI on February 27th 2023.
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