ED Raids Rajasthan Minister’s Office Amid Election Turmoil

Allegations of Corruption in Drinking Water Project Spark Controversy in Pre-Election Rajasthan

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is conducting searches at various locations in Rajasthan, including the office of minister Mahesh Joshi, about a suspected corruption case in a drinking water project. This is the latest instance of ED raids in the state, which is going to polls soon.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot has alleged that the central agencies are working under the influence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government and are targeting the opposition leaders in the election-bound states.

According to sources, ED seized some documents and files from Joshi’s office at the state secretariat in Jaipur. They also raided the house of a public health engineering department official, Subodh Agarwal, in the same city.

Joshi, a close aide of Gehlot, said he had no problem with the ED raids, but he urged them not to harass innocent people. Per his words, he was ready to cooperate with the investigation and answer any questions. He also denied involvement in the alleged scam and said the tenders that BJP MP Kirori Lal Meena had accused him of manipulating were cancelled.

Meena had claimed that there was a scam of ₹20,000 crore in the drinking water project and that Joshi was part of it. Meena had alleged that some contractors had submitted fake experience certificates and documents to get the tenders. He also stated that he had given some evidence to the ED in September.

Last Thursday, the ED had raided the residence of Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra in connection with a paper leak case. They had also notified Vaibhav Gehlot, the son of Ashok Gehlot, for alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

The opposition parties have accused the BJP-led Union government of using the central agencies to intimidate and pressure their leaders before the elections. They have said that this is a pattern that has been observed in other states as well. The Union government and the federal agencies have dismissed these allegations as baseless.

The Congress had earlier said that the ED raids in Chhattisgarh were motivated by the pre-poll surveys that showed a massive defeat for the BJP.

Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are among the five states that will have elections between November 7 and 30. This will be the last major electoral test before the 2024 general elections.

The Congress snatched power from the BJP in the Hindi-speaking states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh in the 2018 assembly elections. It hopes to retain control in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and regain power in Madhya Pradesh.

The Congress lost power to the BJP in Madhya Pradesh in March 2020 after 22 of its legislators resigned. It is encouraged by its performance in Karnataka, where it returned to power this year with a campaign focused on welfare, social justice, and anti-corruption.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is a seasoned Political Journalist with a deep passion for Indian Politics. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted… More »

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