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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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ED is eventful in non-BJP ruled states?

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ed, enforcement directorate, sanjay raut, raut, ed raid, raid on raid, shiv sena, sena, shiv sena minister, uddhav, mva, maha vikas aghadi, opposition, opposition parties in india

Every central government used CBI and ED like agencies to ride the opposition. Be it now BJP or then the UPA. Earlier only CBI was taking opposition on Radar, but since Anna Hazare agitated against corruption the term economic offence became too much accustomed and here entered ED. Opposition always has fear for the CBI, regardless of who’s in power in Delhi. The Modi government is doing the same thing that Congress used to do: that is using a caged parrot to sing its tune. Now it seems to be more open and more ruthless in using it. However, this time the opposition is more fearful and the central government is more powerful. In the previous decade, we have seen state-level leaders being picked to target those who are making it difficult for BJP to retain and seize power.

There was a Supreme Court verdict in 2021, that the money laundering law can’t be used as a weapon to jail people. Indiscriminate use of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will affect the “value” of the legislation and it cannot be wielded as a weapon to put people behind bars” said the Supreme Court. 

The apex court’s observation came during the hearing on an appeal of a Jharkhand-based company in a money laundering case. The bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli said, “If the government indiscriminately starts using ED proceedings then the Act will lose its relevance. The bench also said that the ED is “diluting the Act”, “Not just this case. If ED starts using money laundering as a weapon against Rs 1,000 (money laundering) case, Rs 100 case, then what will happen? You can’t put all people behind bars,” it added. “Such indiscriminate use will affect the value of the Act,” the bench said.

Unfortunately, the ED and other central investigating agency officials are now reduced to puppets of their political masters. Almost every career politician has done some kind of wrong activities to reach where he/she is today. All established national and regional political parties have criminal leaders in their party. So, if the CBI was ever going to be independent, it would jail everyone starting from the PM to his entire cabinet, and most of all MPs. And once the conviction is reached, they won’t even be able to contest elections for the next few years. In the 75 years of independence, we can’t even make these institutions independent, which is a great failure. In India criminal politicians always benefit against those who are not from a political background.

Now look at Maharashtra, ever since Uddhav Thackeray became the chief minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, he and his son were called out by media channels and they were humiliated to the core. The patient CM just did his job by maintaining utmost silence and leaders like Sanjay Raut took opposition and media both on task. Sanjay Raut is instrumental in forming Maha Vikas Aghadi without bowing down to the BJP.

Since then the Centre has been trying to topple the state government by ED, CBI and most recently NCB. To shoo this zealot of NCB the state leaders like Nawab Malik called for a crusade, see now there is no NCB raid, no celebrity called for investigations, no Bollywood actor is harassed. All alone this leader had to fight to stop the atrocities in the name of drugs. His family members were falsely implicated and harassed, but he accomplished his task by exposing the NCB officer.

There are many Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders, especially Shiv Sena leaders who were not only raided and harassed with media trials. I am not supporting corrupt leaders; my point is about the misuse of machinery. 

The whole list for the era when Narendra Modi has been prime minister is longer, showing a clear trend that just before any election, agencies, including the CBI, ED and Income Tax Department, swing into action — summonses are issued in old cases; raids and searches are conducted and arrests made, and new FIRs are registered based on inputs. But as time passes, nothing concrete comes of the investigations.

PM Modi blatantly attacks the Congress government but BJP is doing the same as what Congress did in the past but this is a bad standard each party is setting up instead of making the institution strong they are hollowing it from inside. And all authoritarian leaders do this kind of thing. In a democracy, everyone is free from others’ influence and the same is applied to institutions also. There are many examples of BJP leaders getting caught in a scam, rape cases, money laundering and instigating communal riots but they are shielded. BJP has so much muscle and money power today than other parties that even by mistake it loses power in 2024 it would somehow or other manage to come out of the problem.

A year and a half ago, in September 2019, a month before the assembly polls in Maharashtra, the ED registered an alleged money laundering case against Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar, in connection with the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam. Pawar the senior walked into the ED office and the storm settled. TMC leaders were raided just ahead of West Bengal elections and Aam Aadmi Party leaders were not only raided but humiliated by media trials ahead of Delhi elections, but tables just turned.

Now Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut is fresh on the list; the Enforcement Directorate has been harassing him and his family after he refused to help in toppling the Maharashtra government. In a warning to the Centre, he said that there’s no need to go to court for this as it is an entirely political issue and he will soon strike the last blow in this tussle between probe agencies and the BJP’s political rivals. What if Sanjay Raut proves his claims? Does one more investigative institution go through mortification just like NCB? Raut has posed a threat to the ruling BJP with his extensive political visits across India. Shiv Sena is spreading its wings under his leadership in Uttar Pradesh, Goa and other states.

BJP in the centre has overreached in their confidence and communalism and crony capitalism has overtaken any real development objectives. At least all of the opposition seem to agree that Modi has set the country back by several years due to his disastrous policies and managed to alienate the minorities and regional political parties. BJP should let the non-BJP states rule for the betterment of their people. Enough of politics and the general public started hating it now. Whoever is best will come to power in the next elections. Moreover, ED and independent agencies and constitutional institutions are losing their credibility under this government. It is a very dangerous trend for big countries like India. Instead of making media trials and diluting the matter in press conferences, agencies should be allowed to reach some fair conclusion.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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