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Central Agencies Being Used to ‘Extort’ Corporate Donations for BJP, Alleges Congress

K C Venugopal writes to the Finance Minister seeking a SC-monitored probe, and says his party is planning to move court.
UPCC’s new president appealed to party workers to not get disheartened by the Assembly election results and fight the BJP with full strength. 

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: The Congress has alleged that Central probe agencies are being ‘misused” to extort donations from private companies for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The party demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the matter.

Recently an investigative report by News Minute and NewsLaundry had found at least 30 companies, which had  faced action by Central agencies, donated Rs 335 crore to BJP in the past five years. The report collated the figures from data already available in the public domain.

On Friday, at a press conference, Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh referred to the investigative report and said that party general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal had written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the allegations of “quid pro quo between BJP and donors of BJP which have been raided by various investigation agencies.”

Ramesh also asked the government if it would come up with a "white paper" on BJP's finances.

"If you have nothing to hide, then are you willing to present a point-by-point rebuttal on the 'chronology' of events which led to the filling of BJP's treasury," he asked.

"If you are unwilling to come up with a factual explanation, then are you willing to present yourself for a Supreme Court-monitored investigation in these dubious deals to loot donations for the BJP?" Ramesh was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

“The news report is authenticated by several Election Commission documents regarding donation and other robust evidence. It raises serious questions about the institutional independence, autonomy, and the professionalism of the Central agencies IT, ED, CBI," Venugopal said in his letter to the Sitharaman.

The letter further says that "Two of the three agencies come under the jurisdiction of the Finance Ministry. The entire nation knows how investigative agencies are being remote controlled by your government. This has been testified by a four-fold increase in ED cases against politicians since 2014, and 95 per cent of the cases are against Opposition leaders."

Of the 30 firms, 23 companies, which gave a total of Rs 187.58 crore to the BJP during this period, had never donated any amount to the BJP between 2014 and the year of the raid, Venugopal has written in the letter.

And at least four of these companies donated a total of Rs 9.05 crore within four months of the central agency visit," he said in his letter.

The Congress party said that "the above instances seem to be a clear-cut case of legal extortion in the form of donations to the ruling party, by exerting pressure on investigative agencies."

Venugopal asserted that his party was “nowhere alleging that the cases filed, or the action taken by the investigating agencies are illegal, but it does warrant an investigation into why these 'dubious' firms who have ED cases against them are donating to the ruling party BJP, despite ED investigation against them."

Indicating that Congress would approach the court in the matter, the letter says: "We are going to the courts of law and to the court of people. We will defeat you on both sides."

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