'PM Acting Like Vasooli Bhai': Rahul Gandhi Slams Modi On Firms Donating Funds To BJP After Facing Investigation By Central Agencies

'PM Acting Like Vasooli Bhai': Rahul Gandhi Slams Modi On Firms Donating Funds To BJP After Facing Investigation By Central Agencies

Hitting out at PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi wrote on X, "Do you know about the Prime Minister's 'Donate, Bail, and Take Business' scheme? Like 'Vasooli Bhai', the Prime Minister of the country is conducting a 'donation business' by misusing the ED, IT, and CBI."

Rahul MUpdated: Friday, February 23, 2024, 03:35 PM IST
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi | PTI

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi fired fresh salvos at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday after investigative reports revealed that corporate firms facing investigation donated funds to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to avoid investigation.

Hitting out at PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi wrote on X, "Do you know about the Prime Minister's 'Donate, Bail, and Take Business' scheme? Like 'Vasooli Bhai', the Prime Minister of the country is conducting a 'donation business' by misusing the ED, IT, and CBI."

Referring to a news report, Rahul wrote, "Reports have revealed that 30 companies involved in investigations by agencies, which have become recovery agents, donated Rs 335 crore to the BJP during the investigation."

Accusing the BJP of quid pro quo, the former Congress president wrote, "The 'donation business' is being run so shamelessly that the owners of a distillery in MP donated to the BJP as soon as they got bail. Does a friend's company benefit from dishonesty and different rules for others? Under Modi's rule, the 'illegal donations' and 'Electoral Bonds' given to the BJP are the guarantee of 'Ease of Doing Business'."

Congress wrote to FM Sitharaman

Meanwhile, Congress party has written to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman demanding a probe into allegations of quid-pro-quo between the BJP and 30 companies that have allegedly donated huge sums of money to the ruling party while being under the scanner of federal agencies.

Congress general secretary KC Venugopal, in his letter, said "Media reports have exposed the alleged quid-pro-quo between BJP and several firms, which in a strange coincidence donated to it, after the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax Department (IT) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and others, raided or searched those enterprises." "The news report is authenticated by several Election Commission documents regarding donation and other robust evidence. It raises serious questions about the institutional independence, autonomy, and the professionalism of the Central agencies- IT, ED, CBI," Venugopal said in his letter to the Finance Minister, adding that two of the three agencies come under the jurisdiction of the Finance Ministry.

"The entire nation knows how investigative agencies are being remotely controlled by your government," Venugopal said, adding that this has been testified by a four-fold increase in ED cases against politicians since 2014, and 95 per cent of the cases are against Opposition leaders.

Companies facing investigation donated to BJP

He further alleged that at least 30 companies, which donated a total of nearly Rs 335 crore to the BJP between financial years 2018-19 and 2022-23, also faced action by central agencies during that period.

"Of these firms, 23 companies, which gave a total of Rs 187.58 crore to the party during this period, had never donated any amount to the BJP between 2014 and the year of the raid," the Congress leader added.

He further claimed that at least four of these companies donated a total of Rs 9.05 crore within four months of the central agency visit.

At least six of these firms, which were already donors to the BJP, handed out a heftier amount in the months following the searches, Venugopal said.

"Six other firms, which had donated to the BJP each year before, faced central action after they skipped donations in one financial year," the Congress MP said.

He further alleged that at least three BJP donors, who are not part of the list of 30, had been accused of receiving undue favours from the Modi government.

"The above instances seem to be a clear-cut case of legal extortion in the form of donations to the ruling party, by exerting pressure on investigative agencies," the letter said.

"Certainly, these are not the only cases where such modus operandi of alleged extortion has taken place. This looks like the tip of the iceberg," it said.

"We are nowhere alleging that the cases filed, or the action taken by the investigating agencies are illegal, but it does warrant an investigation, on why these 'dubious' firms who have ED cases against them are donating to the ruling party BJP, despite ED investigation against them," the party said.

Goverment practices opposite of "Na Khaunga, Na Khane Dunga"

Questioning PM Modi, Venugopal said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly spoken about "Na Khaunga, Na Khane Dunga" - But his government seemed to practice the opposite. It practices "Zabardasti Chanda Jama Karunga" ! "Narendra Modi often refers to our country as 'Mother of Democracy'. Is extortion and blackmail to force fund the ruling party by weakening autonomous investigative agencies, part of the 'Mother of Democracy'? Does looting the donation of the principal opposition party, through trivial Income Tax notices, part of 'Mother of Democracy'?" Venugopal said in his letter.

Addressing a press conference, Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh alleged demanded a white paper from the BJP over its finances and raised three questions while referring to the media reports.

"The way CBI, ED and Income Tax are being misused...the same agencies are being misused against our private companies to collect money from them, to extort. Our organisation's general secretary KC Venugopal has written a letter to the finance minister...and this information has also been published by several digital news sites. And all this information has been gathered from the Election Commission," said Ramesh.

"There are about 30 companies. Their names are also on the EC website...and through them, the BJP has got Rs 335 crore in donation. Not Rs 1 crore, not Rs 10 crore, but Rs 335 crore. And this is declared by the BJP," he added.

(With inputs from ANI)

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