Rajasthan: ED summons CM Gehlot’s son in FEMA case, raids Cong prez’s home

The money laundering case stems from FIRs filed by the Rajasthan Police against the accused.

Jaipur:┬áTurning the heat on the ruling Congress in poll-bound Rajasthan, the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday raided the premises of state Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra in Jaipur and Sikar as part of a money laundering probe into the alleged exam paper leak case and summoned Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son in a foreign exchange violation case.

Besides the premises of Dotasra, a former minister for school education, the agency is also searching the premises of party candidate from Mahua seat in Dausa, Omprakash Hudla, and some others, official sources said.

An armed escort of central paramilitary force CRPF accompanied the ED teams.

MS Education Academy

The Congress slammed the Centre over the ED’s action against its leaders in Rajasthan and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of taking the help of probe agencies in fighting polls and said people would give the BJP a befitting reply

Chief Minister Gehlot said the ED raids are being done everyday in the state “as the BJP does not want that Congress party’s guarantees reach the women, farmers and the poor.”

Elections for the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly will be held on November 25. The results will be declared on December 3.

Dotasra is the party candidate from Lacchmangarh seat of Sikar against BJP’s Subhash Maharia. He is also the sitting MLA from this seat while Hudla is an independent MLA and the Congress has fielded him from the Mahua assembly seat this time.

The money laundering case stems from FIRs filed by the Rajasthan Police against the accused.

The accused, “in connivance with each other leaked the question paper of general knowledge of senior teacher grade II competitive examination, 2022 which was scheduled to be conducted by RPSC (Rajasthan Public Service Commission) on 21.12.2022, 22.12.2022 and 24.12.2022 and provided it to appearing candidates for the consideration amount of Rs 8-10 lakh per candidate,” the ED had said.

Former Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC) member Babulal Katara and two other people identified as Anil Kumar Meena and Bhupendra Saran were arrested by the ED in this case.

The agency also summoned the Rajasthan chief minister’s son Vaibhav Gehlot for questioning in a case related to alleged contravention of the foreign exchange law.

Vaibhav Gehlot has been asked to depose before the federal agency’s office either in Jaipur or in New Delhi on Friday, the sources said.

The summons are linked to the recent ED raids against Rajasthan based hospitality group Triton Hotels & Resorts Pvt. Ltd., Vardha Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. and its directors and promoters Shiv Shankar Sharma, Rattan Kant Sharma and others.

The agency had searched the group and its promoters for three days in August at locations in Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai and Delhi.

Rattan Kant Sharma’s alleged links with Vaibhav Gehlot are allegedly under the scanner of the ED and it is expected to question and record his statement under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

Unaccounted cash of Rs 1.2 crore was seized by the ED after these searches.

Soon after the action against its leaders in Rajasthan, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that agencies such as the ED, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Income Tax Department become the real ‘panna pramukh (party workers)’ of the BJP as soon as elections come.

“Seeing its certain defeat in Rajasthan, the Bharatiya Janata Party made its last throw of the dice! After Chhattisgarh, the ED has also entered the election campaign in Rajasthan and started action against Congress leaders,” Kharge said.

“The dictatorship of the Modi government is fatal for democracy. We will continue to fight against the misuse of agencies, and the public will give a befitting reply to the BJP,” the Congress chief said in a post on X.

Ashok Gehlot added that the Congress launched guarantees for women of Rajasthan on October 25 and the ED action against Dotasra and Vaibhav Gehlot came just a day later.

“Now you can understand what I have been saying… ED’s raids happen everyday in Rajasthan because the BJP does not want women, farmers and poor in the state to get the benefit of the guarantees given by Congress,” Gehlot said in a post in Hindi on X.

Congress’ media and publicity department head Pawan Khera also lashed out at the Union government over the ED action.

“Just last week, Ashok Gehlot ji held a press conference in Delhi and raised questions on the role of central agencies in the elections. Today again, ED has become very active in Rajasthan. Modi ji, contest elections directly, stop taking the help of agencies,” Khera said in a post in Hindi on X.

Senior Congress leader Gehlot last week alleged that the BJP-led Centre is misusing probe agencies to target opposition leaders even after the enforcement of the model code of conduct, and urged Modi and the Election Commission to intervene.

The Rajasthan chief minister had said the ED and Income Tax raids are being conducted against opposition leaders even after the announcement of assembly polls, and these agencies are losing credibility among people in the country.

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