The Enforcement Directorate on Monday conducted searches at multiple locations in Chhattisgarh, including at premises linked to Congress party leaders, as part of an ongoing investigation into the coal levy money laundering case, officials said.
The raids come days before the three-day plenary session of the Congress party from 24-26 February in state capital Raipur. The state is ruled by the party under Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
According to officials, the searches are underway since early this morning at over a dozen locations that include those of MLA Devendra Yadav in Bhilai (Durg district), Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee treasurer Ramgopal Agrawal, chairman of Chhattisgarh State Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board Sushil Sunny Agrawal and party's state spokesperson RP Singh in Raipur.
The raids also covered some other ruling party leaders.
They said the ED is investigating those who have been the 'beneficiaries' of the proceeds of crime of the alleged coal levy scam perpetrated during the tenure of the current government.
All raid spots belong to MLAs and office-bearers, who are close aides of Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, India Today reported citing sources.
The ED 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 state administrative service officer Chaurasia, Suryakant Tiwari, his uncle Laxmikant Tiwari, Chhattisgarh cadre IAS officer Sameer Vishnoi and another coal business.
Responding to the ED raids, Chattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel alleged that the crackdown shows BJP's frustration over party convention in the state`s capital and revelation of Adani by Hindenburg report.
"Today the ED has raided the houses of many of my colleagues, including the treasurer of the Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee, the former vice-president of the party, and an MLA. After four days there is a Congress convention in Raipur. Our spirits cannot be broken by stopping our people engaged in preparations like this," Baghel tweeted.
He also said that the raids show the level of frustration of the BJP in the wake of Bharat Jodo Yatra`s success and Hindenburg`s report on Adani`s truth.
"BJP is frustrated with the success of `Bharat Jodo Yatra` and the truth of Adani being revealed. This raid is an attempt to divert attention," he added.
(With inputs from PTI)
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