The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 28 conducted searches in Raipur and Durg in connection with an alleged coal levy scam in Chhattisgarh, sources said. The searches were reportedly conducted at premises linked to a senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, a senior Congress leader, a liquor baron, and a few others.
Paramilitary personnel could be seen at the residence of IAS officer Anil Kumar Tuteja, who is currently posted as Joint Secretary in the State’s Industry and Commerce Department, Raipur Mayor and senior Congress leader Aijaz Dhebar and liquor businessman Baldev Singh Bhatia alias Pappu Bhatia.
This is the second day of the fresh round of multiple raids by the agency in connection with what it calls “a massive scam in which an illegal levy of ₹25 was being extorted for every tonne of coal transported in Chhattisgarh by a cartel involving senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians and middlemen”.
On Tuesday, the ED — which has made several arrests in connection with the case, including that of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s former Deputy Secretary Saumya Chaurasia — had conducted searches on premises belonging to senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Dipanshu Kabra, prominent businessman Kamal Sarda.
Following Tuesday’s searches, Mr. Baghel had said that the ED was not conducting raids in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled States. “It seems the ED does not have offices there,” he said.
In the past, too, the Congress, which rules Chhattisgarh, had accused the BJP-led Centre of using Central agencies to target non-BJP States. Referring to ED raids in connection with the same coal levy scam last month, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had said that the Centre was using probe agencies to influence the outcome of the Assembly polls in the State later this year.