'Washing Machine': Why Opposition Leaders Are Taking Digs At BJP And CBI

A recent investigation by a leading newspaper has found that the CBI has been increasingly targeting Opposition leaders since the BJP came to power in 2014 with 95 percent of the leaders currently being investigated belonging to Opposition parties, as opposed to 60 percent in the UPA years.

CBI raids Manish Sisodias residence

Is the Central Bureau of Investigation become a stooge of the government? The country's apex investigative body has often been questioned for its role as the government's watchdog. But while such accusations have been levelled against the body for decades even during the Congress era, a new investigation by The Indian Express has revealed that in the past eight years of the BJP-led NDA coalition government, the CBI has been increasingly used to target Opposition leaders.

The report noted that between 2004-2014 UPA years, the CBI investigated 72 political leaders out of which 43 were from the Opposition. From 2014 onward, at least 124 prominent politicians have come under the CBI scanner and 118 of the were from the Opposition. The investigation noted a jump from 60 percent to 95 percent of Opposition leaders under the CBI scanner between the UPA and NDA years.

The report also noted that of the 72 important leaders investigated by the CBI in the UPA years, 29 were either from Congressitself or its allies. Since 2014 onwards, only 6 BJP leaders are currently under the CBI scanner. 

The investigation pointed out trends like cases against leaders being put on the backburner when they switched political sides.

The content of the investigation have led to a political slugfest for the BJP with Opposition leaders targeting the party for using the CBI for political gains. Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien took to Twitter and proclaimed, "Washing Machine makes the front page". The leader's dig is a reference to a comment made by TMC chief Mamata Banerjee earlier when she said that corrupt politicians and black money "tuns white" when they enter the BJP. 

Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav also took to the microblogging site and shared the investigation with a reference to some iconic lines by poet Sahir Ludhianvi: "Gairo pe sitam, apno pe karam, hukmaran yeh zulm na kar ".

The Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar also took swipes at the ruling NDA government. The official Twitter handle of the Tejashwi Yadav-led party shared the investigation and said that under the BJP, the CBI has become "worse than a police station".

"In NDA-2 regime, the biased parrot CBI has registered cases against 95 percent of the opposition leaders so that they can help the BJP. No raid on the leaders of BJP, the party of dreaded goons, criminals and corrupt. Corrupt BJP people have made the country's biggest agency worse than the a police station", the party tweeted.

The investigation comes in the wake of string of cases against prominent opposition leaders and politicians by both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, two arms of what is dubbed as the "holy trinity" of the government including Income Tax. In the recent past, several Opposition leaders have called out the BJP for using autonomous bodies like the CBI, ED, and others like the Narcotics Control Bureau to target certain individuals. 

In October last year, NCP chief Sharad Pawar hit out at the ruling party and claimed that that central agencies, including the CBI, ED and NCB, were being misused to target the opposition parties in Maharashtra. Care is being taken to ensure political opponents are "defamed" using the central agencies, Pawar had said. 

Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao lashed out at BJP leaders earlier in August andlevelled similar accusations afterBJP leaders issued media statements about CBI issuing notices to TRS MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha in the ‘Delhi liquor scam’. “How come the BJP leaders knew in advance that the CBI would issue notices to Kavitha? Either the CBI should have told them in advance or the CBI should be acting as per the directions of the BJP. This proves that BJP leaders are using CBI and other investigating agencies," he was quoted by a report in the Deccan Chronicles as saying. He also alleged that the BJP did not touch leaders in states ruled by the party like Karnataka but raided leaders in non-BJP ruled states.

On September 16, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the CBI and ED are "unnecessarily troubling everyone" and said the country can't progress like this. In August, the CBI had raided Delhi's Deputy CM Manish Sisodia in relation to an investigation into the liquor scam row. The ED has also the ED launched fresh raids at about 40 locations across the country recently as part of a money laundering investigation into alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.

(With inputs from PTI)