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March 12, 2024

Sharad Pawar Accuses BJP Government of Misusing ED to Intimidate Opposition: Calls for Investigation

Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of exploiting enforcement agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to instill fear among opposition leaders, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar vehemently criticized the alleged misuse of power. Pawar, addressing reporters in Pune, dubbed the ED as a “supporting party” of the BJP, citing concerning statistics regarding its actions from 2005 to 2023.

According to Pawar, the ED’s purported actions have displayed a stark political bias. He highlighted that out of 5,806 cases registered during the mentioned period, a mere 25 have been resolved, indicating an abysmal disposal rate of 0.42 per cent. Moreover, the conviction rate stands at a meager 0.40 per cent. Pawar emphasized the drastic escalation of the ED’s budget from Rs 300 crore in 2022 to Rs 404 crore, raising eyebrows about its purportedly intensified activities.

During his address, Pawar drew a stark contrast between the actions of the ED during the UPA regime, which also included his party, and the current BJP-led administration. He revealed that under the UPA, the ED had investigated 26 leaders, irrespective of their political affiliations, demonstrating an absence of political bias. However, since 2014, not a single BJP leader has been subjected to ED scrutiny, indicating a concerning trend of selective targeting.

Pawar didn’t mince words in alleging that BJP leaders seemed to have prior knowledge of the ED’s actions, hinting at potential orchestration from the ruling party. He lamented the apparent misuse of the agency to intimidate opposition leaders, a stark departure from its neutral stance during the UPA era under Manmohan Singh’s leadership.

The veteran politician also highlighted a personal connection to the issue, citing the ED’s attachment of assets belonging to a sugar mill owned by his grandnephew, NCP (SP) MLA Rohit Pawar. Rohit Pawar has faced interrogation by the ED on two occasions following raids on his company, Baramati Agro Limited, and Kannad Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Limited, earlier this year.

Sharad Pawar’s accusations come amidst growing concerns about the politicization of enforcement agencies and their alleged misuse to target political opponents. His call for a thorough investigation into the operations of the ED under the current regime echoes the sentiments of many who fear the erosion of democratic principles in India’s political landscape. As allegations of selective targeting and political vendettas continue to surface, the need for accountability and impartiality within enforcement agencies remains paramount for upholding the integrity of the nation’s democracy.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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