ED raids in Chhattisgarh: Venugopal says Congress won’t be scared; party workers stage protest in Raipur

Raipur, February 21 dmanewsdesk: All India Congress Committee general secretary KC Venugopal on Tuesday termed the Enforcement Directorate’s raids on party leaders in Chhattisgarh as “political vendetta” and said the Congress will not be scared of it.

The Congress will fight against it according to the law, Venugopal told reporters at the Swami Vivekananda Airport here. Meanwhile, members of the ruling Congress in Chhattisgarh staged a protest in front of the ED’s office in state capital Raipur against the raids. 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. When asked about it, Venugopal said, “It is clearly a political vendetta. It was expected. We were expecting (raids) as the Congress’ plenary session is going to be held and there is election… we are not scared of anything.” The 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 in 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 said. The Congress leader said he has come to review the final preparation for the party’s 85th plenary session scheduled to be held in Raipur from February 24 to 26. The ED on Monday conducted searches at more than a dozen locations related to two Congress MLAs Devendra Yadav in Bhilai (Durg district) and Chandradev Prasad Rai in Sarangarh-Bilaigarh district, Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee treasurer Ramgopal Agrawal, chairman of Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation Girish Dewangan, chairman of Chhattisgarh State Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board Sushil Sunny Agrawal and party’s state spokesperson RP Singh in Raipur, according to officials. The raids also covered premises of some other ruling party leaders, including Vinod Tiwari in Raipur. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel had called the raids a “politically motivated” move and claimed the Bharatiya Janata Party was afraid of the Congress and misusing central agencies to crush the voices of political opponents. Baghel had said the raids were an attempt to divert attention ahead of the party’s plenary session and would not be able to break the spirits of its leaders engaged in preparations for the session. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had rejected the charge and said the Congress should not speak on corruption as it lost power on the issue and asserted the probe agencies do their homework and investigate only when they have necessary prima facie evidence. PTI TKP GK.