Minister’s office among premises being raided in poll-bound Rajasthan | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Minister’s office among premises being raided in poll-bound Rajasthan

Nov 03, 2023 11:29 AM IST

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot has accused the central agencies of acting at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government, especially in poll-bound states

Minister Mahesh Joshi’s office was among the premises the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was searching on Friday in connection with alleged corruption in a drinking water project. The searches are the latest in a series of such raids in poll-bound Rajasthan.

The ED on Thursday last raided the home of Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra. (HT PHOTO)
The ED on Thursday last raided the home of Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra. (HT PHOTO)

People aware of the matter said ED seized documents and files from Joshi’s office at the state secretariat in Jaipur. The residence of public health engineering department official Subodh Agarwal was also raided in Jaipur.

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Chief minister Ashok Gehlot has accused the central agencies of acting at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government, especially in poll-bound states.

BJP Member of Parliament Kirori Lal Meena has alleged a scam of 20,000 crore in the drinking water project in Rajasthan and claimed Joshi was involved in it. Meena claimed contractors submitted false experience certificates and documents for tenders for the project. In September, Meena claimed to have provided ED documents to back his claims.

Joshi said the ED was welcome to carry out raids but it should not target innocent people. “The ED has the right to carry out raids. I have no objection. They can take all documents and files. If they come to question me, I will reply. They should do their job fairly and act against anyone found guilty but they should not trouble anyone who is innocent,” he said. Joshi said the tenders Meena has cited were cancelled. “So his allegations are baseless.”

The ED on Thursday last raided the home of Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra in connection with an alleged paper leak case and issued a notice to Vaibhav Gehlot, Ashok Gehlot’s son, for alleged contraventions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

Opposition parties have been citing a pattern in raids and accusing the BJP-led Union government of repeatedly targeting their leaders through raids, summons, and arrests ahead of elections. The federal agencies and the Union government have repeatedly denied these charges.

The Congress earlier this year called ED raids in Chhattisgarh a result of pre-poll surveys which predicted a “massive rout” for the BJP.

Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are going to the polls along with Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, and Mizoram between November 7 and 30. This will be the last major electoral exercise ahead of the 2024 elections.

The Congress wrested power from the BJP in the Hindi-speaking heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh months before the 2019 general elections. It is hoping to retain power in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and form the government in Madhya Pradesh.

The Congress lost power to the BJP in Madhya Pradesh in March 2020 after the resignations of 22 legislators. It is particularly buoyed by its performance in Karnataka, where it this year returned to power on the back of an ideological campaign centred on welfare, social justice, and anti-corruption.

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