The concerted action by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against political leaders in non-BJP states, is setting a dangerous trend of destabilizing the state governments run by the non-BJP parties and eventually disturbing federalism enshrined in the Constitution of India.
There is no secret that the central agencies work under the pressure of the ruling party at the centre. This trend has been going on for years together. But during the Narendra Modi regime, the central agencies including ED, CBI and Income Tax dept are going out of the way to please “Delhi bosses”.
With the Supreme Court’s recent remarks against the Enforcement Directorate (ED), it is proved beyond doubt that the Central Government is using the central agencies like ED, CBI and Income Tax department, as a tool to pressurize its opponents.
No action has been taken by Central agencies in the recent past against politicians in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Assam and Madhya Pradesh, which are either ruled by the BJP or the BJP has an alliance with some of the parties in these states.
As against this, the action against politicians by these agencies in the non-BJP ruled states including Maharashtra, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh and Tamil Nadu is blatant. The politicians are booked, the raids are conducted and the properties are attached to the allegations of corruption. However these actions are dictated from the top.
The ED is also being used as a tool by the ruling BJP to ensure defections so that it could willy-nilly form its own Government in the non-BJP states.
Once the CBI was described as a parrot in the cage of the Central Government. Now it can be emphatically said that even the ED and Income Tax have joined the league and have become the parrots in the cage of the Central Government.
The Supreme Court recently pulled up the ED and asked it whether it will only attach the properties of the accused or would pursue the cases to finality so that the action can be taken if the charges are proved.
Now it is time that the Supreme Court asked the Central Government to make clear the role of these agencies in day to day administration of different states. Whether they take action against alleged defaulters based on the facts or based on the directions from “above”.
In the last 11 years, the trial was conducted by ED against 173 people. But the ED could prove charges only against 14 people. Besides, no accused was sent behind the bars since July 2005. The ED issued notices to attach the property worth Rs 58,333 in the last one decade. But the court consented only for the adjudication of properties worth Rs. 36149.
Also, although proven guilty in the Saradha Chit Fund case, the ED is yet to take action against the leaders like Mukul Roy and Himanta Biswa Sarma (now Assam Chief Minister).
In the last few months the ED took action against the Maharashtra politicians including former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, former BJP leader (now in NCP) Eknath Khadse and Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik. Now Transport Minister Anil Parab (Shiv Sena) is in the firing line.
Besides, the property of the Satara-based Jarandeshwar Sugar Factory was attached and put up for auction. The ED claimed that it was as per the directions of the Bombay High Court.
Some time back a big farce of NCP Chief Sharad Pawar being summoned by ED for questioning was made and Pawar announced that he was prepared to present himself before the RED even without the ED issuing a summons. However it was proved that it was a mere because Pawar has very close ties with top leaders and he uses his clout to browbeat anyone who crosses him.
So these agencies are nothing but pressure tools and it is time that the steam is blown out of these “pressure kits”.