Letters to the Editor: ED’s terror to continue?
With the SC refusing to curtail ED’s discretionary powers-- deemed to be excessive and unconstitutional by the opposition-- the ED’s misuse by BJP-led central government is set to continue unabated
ED’s terror to continue
With the Supreme Court refusing to curtail Enforcement Directorate’s discretionary powers-- deemed to be excessive and unconstitutional by the opposition-- the ED’s misuse by the BJP-led central government is set to continue unabated.
That the ED is being exploited as a political tool by this government is evident from various facts. Between 2005- 2014 (UPA rule) the ED conducted 112 searches under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)and attached assets worth Rs 5,346crore.
However, after the Modi government came to power, the number of ED searches rose drastically. Between FY2014-15 and FY 2021-22, the ED conducted 3,010 searches under PMLA and attached assets worth. Rs 99,356 crore, as per government data.
The notable thing is that out of 3,555 cases recorded under PMLA from April 2014 to March 2022, only 23 accused persons/entities have been convicted. The agency or its masters haven’t given any reason for such low conviction rate (less than 1%). -Vikas Sharda, Gurgaon
Custodial deaths on the rise
Custodial deaths, or the number of people dying in police custody, are on the rise across most of the states. As per the latest government data, the highest number of custodial deaths in the year 2021-22 have been reported from Uttar Pradesh (501), which far outnumbers the second highest custodial deaths in West Bengal (257).
This is followed by Bihar (237), Madhya Pradesh (201), Maharashtra (197) and Punjab (153). In the previous year, the number of custodial deaths were: UP (451), WB (185), Bihar (159), MP (163), Maharashtra (143) and Punjab (72).
Even in the national capital Delhi, the number of custodial deaths has risen from 45 last year to 65this year till March 31. This upward trend is worrisome and the authorities and NHRC must take cognisance of this. -Dr Mehmood Ali, Delhi
Windfall tax gone with the wind?
The government on July 21 slashed windfall taxes on oil companies barely three weeks after they were imposed. The move benefitted Reliance Industries, country’s top fuel exporter, besides state-owned ONGC. The government scrapped the Rs 6-per-litre export tax on petrol and revised down the levy on diesel to Rs 10 per litre from Rs 13 per litre earlier, and on aviation turbine fuel to Rs 4 per litre from Rs 6 per litre.
The downward revision in taxes would result in revenue loss of Rs 67,600 crore to the government, JP Morgan estimated. Reliance has been importing discounted crude from Russia amid the West imposed sanctions against Moscow. Meanwhile, the government has levied GST on milk, milk products and atta. Well Done, Abba! -Asmita Kulkarni, Mumbai
(These letters were first published in National Herald)