New Delhi, Nov 4 (SocialNews.XYZ) The Congress on Saturday came out in support of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, accusing the Central government of indulging in 'political vendetta' as they are set to lose the upcoming Assembly elections, adding that this is a clear-cut conspiracy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tarnish the image of the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and Congress for winning the election.
Senior Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and K.C. Venugopal all came together in defence of Baghel after the Enforcement Directorate on Friday night claimed that the Chief Minister was paid Rs 508 crore by Mahadev App promoters, said an accused.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Ramesh, who is the Congress General Secretary (Communication), hitting back at the Central government said, "This is a clear case of misuse of central agencies. This is politics of vendetta, this is being done because the BJP is set to lose. In both the states –- Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh -- the trust of people is with the Congress and it will form governments there."
Venugopal, who is the Congress General Secretary (organisation), said, "Whenever there are elections, the main weapon for the BJP are the Enforcement Directorate (ED) or the Income Tax department."
He added: "We have seen ahead of the Karnataka elections, how they raided more than 100 Congress candidates and now after eight-nine months, no one knows any update about those raids."
"After the elections, the Congress won 136 seats and we are ruling in Karnataka," Venugopal said.
He added that in all the five states –- Mizoram, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh -- the Congress will form governments.
"Public mood is very clear. In all the states Congress is going to form governments. Whenever the BJP sees that the ground is slipping from their feet, they have only one weapon with them, the ED," the Congress Rajya Sabha MP adde
"They have only one target to damage the image of the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and the Rajasthan Chief Minister. Baghel comes from the grassroot level and he has become one of the most popular Chief Ministers in the country. They know that the election is going to be one-sided. He comes from OBC community and has become pride of Chhattisgarh, people praise the government's programmes."
"This is a clear-cut conspiracy headed by the Prime Minister to tarnish the image of Baghel and Congress for winning this election," Venugopal alleged.
He said: "The Congress is surprised as when the model code of conduct is enforced in these poll-bound states and the agencies are at the doorsteps of the leaders, how can the money come without their knowledge."
"We have a simple question to the Central government. What stopped you from taking action against Mahadev apps, especially when it is operating from Dubai or so? Is it in your domain. Why are you not taking action against this app," Venugopal asked.
"This is clear-cut strategy to try to damage the image of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister. Congress is categorically wishing to say that the people of Chhattisgarh will give a befitting reply on this malicious campaign by using ED," he said.
He also mentioned the ED statement about Baghel being paid Rs 508 crore by promoters of Mahadev app by an accused and said: "ED official statement is saying that some arrested person is saying that Chhattisgarh Chief Minister got this money but all this needs to be investigated."
"Without investigation, without inquiry, the ED is taking a statement of an accused person and giving it in the public during the course of the election. Has this happened before? This type of tactics is not going to serve the purpose. People are not fools, they know the BJP's tactics. In Rajasthan, you raided our Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's son's house, PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasara's house. On the other hand your own ED officer is caught in Rajasthan for taking bribes," the Congress leader said.
Meanwhile, Singhvi, who is an eminent lawyer, said that it is known that ED has an alliance with the BJP and their alliance increases more when the defeat comes closer.
He said that one-and-a-half years ago, the Chhattisgarh Police initiated the case, made several arrests and seized several things in the Mahadev app case.
"After one-and-a-half years, the ED takes step on the instructions of BJP government and they target the government officers," he added.
He said that from March 2022 till date, at least 450 people have been arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police in the Mahadev app case.
Nearly 72 cases have been registered in several districts, 191 laptops, 850 mobile phones, 200 ATM cards, Rs 1.5 crore cash, many immoveable assets, Rs 16 crore bank account money and others items seized and recovered in Chhattigarh by the police.
"All these were done by the Chhattisgarh Police. The ED has been probing it for more than eight months. During elections, people are informed that we have arrested such people who were coming to India to pay the leaders for elections. How did they come and how the cash arrived? How a courier man gives statement, and then on the basis of that a story is made. After that story you say all are subject to investigation," Singhvi asked.