As the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out searches on Wednesday at over a dozen locations in Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and West Bengal in the fertiliser scam case, including the house of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s brother Agrasain Gehlot, the congress questioned the timing of the action.
Following the ED raids, the Congress flayed the Modi government and maintained that when the Centre’s attempts to topple the party’s state government failed, the ED had conducted raids, including at the premises of Gehlot’s brother.
“Whenever the BJP is in trouble, when the BJP fails to topple any government, then they take the support of the ED, CBI and the Income Tax,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters in Jaipur.
The ED searches are being carried under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
The ED has filed a case under the PMLA based on a Customs Department complaint and charge sheet in the alleged fertiliser scam case.
A top ED official told a news agency: “The ED is conducting searches at 13 locations across the country — four in Gujarat, six in Rajasthan, two in West Bengal and one in Delhi.”
The official said that the financial probe agency is also carrying out searches at the premises of Agrasain Gehlot, whose firm Anupam Krishi held authorised dealership of Indian Potash Ltd (IPL).
An ED source claimed the company owned by Agrasain Gehlot was involved in exporting Muriate of Potash (MoP) fertiliser, which is banned for exports. MoP is imported by IPL and distributed among farmers at subsidised rates.
The source further said that Agrasain Gehlot is facing a Rs 7 crore Customs penalty in the fertiliser case.
According to the source, Agrasian Gehlot was an authorised dealer for IPL and between 2007-09, his company bought MoP at subsidised rates and instead of distributing to farmers sold it to few other companies, who in turn exported it to Malaysia and Singapore in the guise of industrial salt.
The searches comes in the backdrop of a political crisis in Rajasthan after the rebellion by then Deputy Chief Minister and PCC President Sachin Pilot, who was sacked from these posts on July 14.
The case was unearthed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence in 2012-13. The BJP had raised the issue in 2017.