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ED raids in Chhattisgarh- Voice of country cannot be suppressed by spreading fear of ‘puppet agencies’: Congress

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New Delhi: Slamming the Enforcement Directorate raids on premises linked to its leaders in Chhattisgarh, the Congress said on Tuesday that the country’s voice cannot be suppressed by spreading the fear of “puppet agencies”.

The party, which is in power in Chhattisgarh, said it is ready to fight it out and will fearlessly raise people’s issues.

A large number of Congress leaders and workers held a protest in front of the central agency’s office in Raipur and accused it of taking action at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The protesters, led by Congress MLA Dhanendra Sahu and former Rajya Sabha member Chhaya Verma, held a sit-in at the ED office building in Pachpedi Naka area.

There was a minor scuffle when slogan-shouting Congress members tried to enter the premises but were stopped by security personnel.

“It is clearly political vendetta. It was expected. We were expecting (raids) as the Congress’ plenary session is going to be held and there is an election… we are not scared of anything,” All India Congress Committee general secretary KC Venugopal said.

Venugopal was in Raipur to review the final preparation for the party’s 85th plenary session scheduled to be held from February 24 to 26. Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh are due this year-end.

“We are law-abiding citizens. Don’t think that the Congress is going to be scared by the name of the BJP or (Prime Minister) Modi. We will fight it out certainly according to the law. You can see, just before the plenary session of a national party, they are doing this type of drama…,” Venugopal told reporters at the Swami Vivekananda Airport.

The ED on Monday conducted raids at more than a dozen locations in Chhattisgarh including at premises linked to state Congress leaders as part of an ongoing probe into the alleged coal levy scam.

Hitting out at the Centre, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “Prime Minister’s friend Gautam Adani has been accused of embezzlement through shell companies and many other serious allegations have been levelled against him. But did you see any agency investigating this?” “But, for creating hurdles for the Congress’ plenary session, and against the voices talking about the nexus between Modi ji and his friend, an agency has been deployed,” she said in a tweet in Hindi.

The Congress will continue to fearlessly raise its voice on issues of the country, Priyanka Gandhi asserted.

“We will take a pledge at the Congress’ plenary session to raise our voice against inflation, unemployment and corruption. You cannot suppress the voice of the country by scaring us through puppet agencies,” she said.

The ED’s investigation relates to “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 agency has alleged.

Nine persons including an IAS officer and a state administrative service officer have been arrested in the case.


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