Intimidating opposition leaders by making PMLA provisions more draconian is part of BJP toolkit: Kharge

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said agencies such as the ED, CBI and I-T department have become the BJP's 'eliminate opposition cell'

Hemant Soren during his arrest (photo: @mrs_roh08/X)
Hemant Soren during his arrest (photo: @mrs_roh08/X)

NH Digital

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday said "forcing" former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren to resign after setting the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against him is "a blow to federalism".

Soren resigned as chief minister on Wednesday evening after over seven hours of questioning by the ED on money laundering charges linked to an alleged land fraud case. Thereafter, he was arrested by the agency.

Subsequently, it was announced that Soren had challenged the ED probe and his arrest in a writ petition in Jharkhand High Court on Wednesday but the matter was not heard and is likely to be mentioned on Thursday for hearing.

Targeting the government over the development, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said agencies such as the ED, CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and the Income Tax Department "are no longer government agencies, now they have become the BJP's 'eliminate opposition cell'."

In a post in Hindi on X, Congress chief Kharge said, "The one who did not go with (Narendra) Modi ji will go to jail. Setting the ED against Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren and forcing him to resign is a blow to federalism."

Intimidating Opposition leaders by making the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) more draconian is part of the BJP's toolkit, he alleged. The BJP's work of destabilising opposition party-led governments one by one as part of a conspiracy is continuing, the Congress chief added.

"Whoever went into the BJP's washing machine is clean as white, who didn't is tainted? If democracy has to be saved from dictatorship, the BJP will have to be defeated. We will not be afraid. We will continue to fight from Parliament to the streets," he also wrote.

In another post in Hindi on X, Gandhi alleged that in its obsession for power, "the BJP, which is steeped in corruption, is running a campaign to destroy democracy".

Meanwhile, reacting to the development, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla wrote on X, "One more feather of corruption in cap of 'INDI Alliance' from Jharkhand."

The BJP leader also used the opportunity to target Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and said, “There was a time (when) Kejriwal used to demand the arrest of Lalu, Soren, Sonia. These days he defends them because he himself is (the) mastermind of sharab ghotala (liquor excise policy scam)."

The ED has issued a fifth summons to the Delhi chief minister for questioning in the alleged excise policy linked money laundering case, official sources said on Wednesday.

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