PM’s anti-corruption slogan a sham, reveals Indian Express report

From Pawar to Patel, Sarma to Adhikari, at least 25 Opposition leaders who joined the BJP since 2014 have been let off by Central agencies

PM Narendra Modi campaigns in Rajasthan (photo: PTI)
PM Narendra Modi campaigns in Rajasthan (photo: PTI)

NH Digital

At a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is positioning himself as a crusader against corruption in the run up to the Lok Sabha election, his ‘Bhrastachar Hatao’ slogan has been exposed as hollow by an investigation by the Indian Express published on Wednesday, 3 April.

The two front-page reports, which continue inside for the better part of a page, supports the Opposition INDIA bloc’s mocking description of the BJP as a washing machine. Indeed, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera even presented a dummy washing machine at a media briefing to make his point. Watch the video here:

Reacting to the report, Khera quipped on Wednesday, “High time the BJP officially declares ED, CBI & IT to be its business development team!"

The investigation by Deeptiman Tiwary revealed:

1. At least 25 politicians accused of corruption by Central agencies have crossed over to the BJP in the last 10 years since 2014. Ten of them were from the Congress, four each from the Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena, three from the Trinamool Congress, two from Telugu Desam Party, and one each from the Samajwadi Party and Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party.

2. As many as 12 of the politicians are from Maharashtra, while as many as 11 joined the BJP in 2022, and six of them this year.

3. Corruption cases against three of them, including Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel, have been closed, with the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) dropping the case against Patel after seven years of investigation last month. The CBI has also filed a closure report in the case of mining baron Janardhan Reddy in Karnataka, who re-joined the BJP last month.

4. In the case of 20 politicians, the cases have not moved after they joined the BJP. In only two cases — against Jyoti Mirdha and Y.S. Chaudhary — has there been no sign of a let up, the report mentions.

5. Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla has sat over the request for a sanction to prosecute erstwhile TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari in the Narada case for five years since 2019. Birla, who was pro-active in expelling Rahul Gandhi and Mahua Moitra, did not respond to the prosecution request even as Adhikari, an MP in 2019, joined the BJP in 2020 and is the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal Assembly.

6. Similarly, the case against Himanta Biswa Sarma — the present chief minister of Assam — in the Sarada investigation has not moved after he joined the BJP in 2015.

Money laundering cases against Opposition politicians by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have zoomed up since 2017. Tellingly, 95 per cent of the cases since 2014 have been against Opposition leaders. In an earlier report, Indian Express had revealed that of the 121 political leaders who came under the ED’s radar between 2014 and 2022, 115 of them are from the Opposition.

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