Congress demands probe into reports of firms stung by ED, I-T donating to BJP | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Congress demands probe into reports of firms stung by ED, I-T donating to BJP

Feb 23, 2024 01:04 PM IST

Congress leader KC Venugopal asked if the finance minister would “come up with a “White Paper” on BJP’s finances.

Congress general secretary KC Venugopal has written to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, urging for a thorough investigation into allegations of quid-pro-quo between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and several corporate donors who have been subject to raids by various central investigative agencies.

Congress leader KC Venugopal along with Ajay Maken addresses a press conference at AICC Headquarters in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, February 22, 2024. (Photo by Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)
Congress leader KC Venugopal along with Ajay Maken addresses a press conference at AICC Headquarters in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, February 22, 2024. (Photo by Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)

The letter comes in the wake of investigative reports published by online publications Newslaundry and The News Minute on the concerning pattern of donations to the BJP by firms shortly after being targeted by agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax Department (IT), and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), among others.

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According to the report, at least 30 companies donated nearly 335 crore to the BJP between financial years 2018-19 and 2022-23. Of these firms, 23 had never donated to the BJP prior to the raids conducted by investigative agencies. Several companies reportedly even increased their donations to the BJP following agency actions.

"The above instances seem to be a clear-cut case of legal extortion in the form of donations to the ruling party, by exerting pressure on investigative agencies. Certainly, these are not the only cases where such modus operandi of alleged extortion has taken place. This looks like the tip of the iceberg," Venugopal said in the letter.

He raised serious questions about the autonomy and professionalism of central investigative agencies, particularly those under the purview of the finance ministry, and demanded a 'White Paper' on BJP's finances, including details on how corporate donations were allegedly coerced through the misuse of investigative agencies.

"We are nowhere alleging that the cases filed, or the action taken by the investigating agencies are illegal, but it does warrant an investigation, on why these “dubious” firms who have ED cases against them are donating to the ruling party – BJP, despite ED investigation against them. Is it a mere coincidence that they are donating to the BJP, after ED action?" Venugopal wrote.

The Congress leader accused the government of undermining democracy through tactics such as issuing frivolous income tax notices to opposition parties and allegedly pressuring nationalized banks to extort funds.

"If you have nothing to hide, then are you willing to present a point-by-point rebuttal on the ‘Chronology’ of events which led to the filling of BJP’s treasury?" he asked.

"If you are unwilling to come up with a factual explanation, then are you willing to present yourself for a Supreme Court monitored investigation in these dubious deals to loot donation for the BJP?" he added.

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