A bill related to the protection of journalists will be tabled in the ongoing budget session of the Chhattisgarh Assembly, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said on Thursday. He made the announcement while replying to a debate on the demand for grants for his departments under the annual budget of the financial year 2022-23. The CM also hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre over raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax department at the premises of government officials and Congress leaders and alleged the action was aimed at defaming his administration.
Baghel holds General Administration, Finance, Energy, Mineral Resources, Public Relations, Electronics and Information Technology, and Aviation portfolios. “The journalist's protection law (bill) will be brought in the ongoing session,” he said. The CM also listed measures taken by his government in the interest of media persons. Targeting the Centre over ED and IT raids, Baghel said, “ those officials who have committed wrong are in jail. Those who have done anything wrong should be in jail. Investigations (by central probe agencies) should be followed by reports. One by one raid are being conducted but no report is being presented."
“Investigations will continue till the Lok Sabha elections next year because you (Centre) are not interested in probe...rather you are interested in defaming,” alleged the Congress leader. Baghel said whenever he and his party leaders from Chhattisgarh went to other states for poll campaigning, raids took place in Chhattisgarh. Raids were conducted when the Congress plenary session was organized in Raipur in February. The CM further said he had written to the Union Home Minister and the ED seeking a probe into the alleged chit fund scams that took place during the previous Raman Singh-led BJP government in the state.
Baghel accused the Centre of trying to "capture" all institutions in the country. After discussion, the demand proposal for the departments held by the CM was passed in the Assembly. The ED has been probing the coal levy money laundering case in Chhattisgarh and so far arrested nine persons, including an Indian Administration Service (IAS) officer and a state service bureaucrat.