Millennium Post

ED reduced to taking 'Enforced Directives' from Modi govt: Cong

New Delhi: Hitting out at the BJP-led government, Congress on Thursday accused the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of taking "enforced directives" from the Modi government.

Raising the issue of reported "favours being extended" to the Adani group, the Congress on Thursday asked when the probe agency would question the Adani group over allegations that the Prime Minister was pushing its case for a project in Sri Lanka.

The allegation follows reports on the matter, which has been denied by the Lankan government as well as the Adani group. While addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh, who also brought up Rahul Gandhi's questioning by the ED, said that it was a clear case of maligning his reputation and a "mere political stunt."

Vallabh further alleged that all central agencies have been reduced to pawns in the hands of the government. "All these agencies have been queuing up to collect their blindfolds only to make a mockery of themselves," he said, adding that the BJP government's claims have been exposed in the last eight years and it has all been about "antics and substance."

"A once reputed agency such as the ED can no longer be called by Enforcement Directorate... (it) is busy in taking 'Enforced Directives' from the Modi government," he alleged. Vallabh cited reports of the chairperson of the state-owned Ceylon Electricity Board in Sri Lanka making claims before a parliamentary panel that the Indian prime minister had allegedly "pressurised" Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to award a wind power project to the Adani Group.

"What was his compulsion? Why are ED and other agencies sleeping on this information?" the Congress leader asked.

Vallabh further said that there have been several other instances that warrant severe action by central agencies, including the ED, but they have chosen to look the other way.

"Is not this a case of corruption worth investigating? Which bureaucrats or ministers is the ED planning to call for an investigation? Has the ED ever called anyone from the Adani group, or is it planning to call to investigate these serious allegations? What credibility does an agency like ED have... (it) is on a political witch-hunt but failing on its duty of investigating severe allegations and crimes," he said.

He further alleged thatwhen Modi government came to power, SBI drafted an in-principal agreement with Adani group for USD 1 billion facility and brought in several banks worldwide to provide funding. "After constant protests, SBI backed off and scrapped the MoU. In 2020, news of another loan of Rs 5,000 crore by SBI to Adani's Carmichael coal project in Australia became public. Pressure from investors like Amundi and AXA led to SBI's loan being stuck," he said.

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