ED raids in Chhattisgarh: CM Baghel says such acts won't weaken party

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ED raids Congress leaders in mining case Chhattisgarh

Security personnel outside the residence of a Congress leader during a raid by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a mining case, in Raipur

Raipur: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party over searches conducted by the Enforcement Directorate at the premises linked to Congress leaders in the state and said such acts will not weaken the morale of party leaders who are engaged in the preparation of the party's upcoming plenary session.

The ED on Monday conducted searches at multiple locations in Chhattisgarh, including Congress party leaders, as part of an ongoing investigation in the coal levy money laundering case, officials said.

The raids come ahead of the three-day plenary session of the Congress from February 24 in state capital Raipur.

“Today the ED has raided the residence of many of my colleagues, including the treasurer of the Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee, the party's former vice-president and an MLA,” Baghel said in a tweet.

“There is a plenary session of the Congress in Raipur after four days. Our spirits cannot be broken by stopping our colleagues engaged in preparations for the session through such acts. The BJP is disappointed with the success of 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' and the truth of Adani being exposed. This raid is an attempt to divert attention. The country knows the truth. We will fight and win,” the CM added.

According to officials, the searches are underway since early this morning at over a dozen locations related to 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 premises of some other ruling party leaders.

The officials 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.

The ED raids 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 Saumya Chaurasia, Suryakant Tiwari, his uncle Laxmikant Tiwari, Chhattisgarh cadre IAS officer Sameer Vishnoi and another coal businessman Sunil Agrawal have been arrested by it till now in the case.