Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday stepped up his attack on the Enforcement Directorate (ED), accusing the probe agency of crossing its limits and treating people inhumanely in the state.
Talking to reporters at the helipad in Police Lines here, Baghel alleged that the agency has been torturing and harassing people in the name of investigation and dubbed the action as “unfortunate”.
The Chief Minister's remark has come a day after he targeted the ED in a series of tweets accusing it of assaulting and intimidating people. The ED had recently arrested four persons, including IAS officer Sameer Vishnoi and two coal traders, in connection with a money laundering case linked to the alleged extortion from mining transporters.
When asked about the ED's action, Baghel said, “..it is very wrong. They are acting beyond their limits. There is information that people were beaten up with rods, not given water to drink, not allowed to sit (for several hours) and even not allowed to sleep...” “I don't think any government or court will allow such an inhumane treatment. It is very unfortunate that the agency has crossed its limits,” he said.
The Chief Minister had on Sunday tweeted that state officials have been directed to inform the Central government about “illegal” actions by the ED. Assuring cooperation to probe that are carried out legally, Baghel had warned that if the state government receives complaints of torture or harassment, then it will be compelled to take legal action.
Baghel also slammed the BJP and asked why it was raising a hue and cry when the Jharkhand police arrived in Chhattisgarh in connection with a rape case, in which its candidate for Bhanupratappur bypoll Brahmanand Netam is also an accused. “Two days ago, (BJP leader) Brijmohan Agarwal ji had challenged to arrest Netam, and if the Jharkhand police have arrived here why is he raising a hue and cry and terming the action as a conspiracy?” he said.
The case was lodged in May 2019 when Raghubar Das-led BJP government was in power in Jharkhand, he said, adding that BJP should ask him (Raghubar Das) about the conspiracy. “Why is the BJP supporting a rapist (referring to Netam)? If they (BJP) have done something wrong (by nominating Netam as the party candidate), then they should accept their mistake. Instead of accepting their mistake, they are trying to hide it," Baghel said.
On November 20, state Congress chief Mohan Markam had claimed that the Jharkhand police had lodged a case at Telco police station in Jamshedpur on May 15, 2019 about a 15-year-old girl allegedly being pushed into the flesh trade and raped by several persons. According to Markam, five persons were held in the case initially, while former BJP MLA Netam, a native of Charama town in Kanker, and four others were also named as accused.
The Jharkhand police arrived in Raipur on Monday morning and headed to Kanker in connection with the case. Senior BJP MLA and former minister Brijmohan Agrawal dubbed the Jharkhand police's arrival as a conspiracy by Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh and Hemant Soren-led Jharkhand government. Fearing defeat in the December 5 Bhanupratappur bypoll, the Congress made such false allegations against Netam. People of Bhanupratappur and Chhattisgarh will give a befitting reply to the Congress for its conspiracy to malign the image of an innocent tribal man, Agrawal claimed.
(With PTI inputs)