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Business News/ Politics / News/  23 of 25 Opposition leaders accused of corruption got reprieve after joining BJP since 2014: Report
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23 of 25 Opposition leaders accused of corruption got reprieve after joining BJP since 2014: Report

The opposition leaders who got reprieve from investigation agencies after joining the BJP include 10 from the Congress, four each from the NCP and the Shiv Sena, three from Trinamool Congress, two from TDP, and one each from Samajwadi Party and YSRCP.

23 of 25 Opposition leaders accused of corruption who joined BJP since 2014 got reprieve: Report (AP)Premium
23 of 25 Opposition leaders accused of corruption who joined BJP since 2014 got reprieve: Report (AP)

At least 25 prominent politicians from the opposition ranks, who had been facing probes by Central agencies in corruption cases, have switched to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2014, when Narendra Modi was first sworn in Prime Minister of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

Of these, 23 leaders have got a reprieve in the cases from the investigation agencies, a report by the Indian Express said on April 3.

These leaders include 10 from the Congress, four each from NCP and Shiv Sena, three from Trinamool Congress, two from TDP, and one each from Samajwadi Party and YSRCP. As many as three cases against these opposition leaders have been closed while 20 are either stalled or in cold storage, the Indian Express report said. 

Also Read: PM Modi denies opposition's accusations of probe agency misuse: ‘We neither obstruct nor direct ED’

Six of the politicians on this list switched allegiance to the BJP in 2024 , in the run-up  to the Lok Sabha Elections 2024. 

A 2022 report by the Indian Express had said that at least 95 per cent of prominent politicians against whom Central investigation agencies including the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took action after 2014 were from the Opposition. 

The April 3 report comes amid Opposition charges of ‘misuse’ of investigation agencies against the PM Modi led government. The opposition has termed the BJP a “washing machine," referring to the increasing phenomenon of politicians accused of corruption not facing any probes after switching over to the BJP. The the government has denied the accusation.

The report also comes at a time when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, two opposition leaders, are in jail in corruption cases being probed by the ED.

Follow all Arvind Kejriwal news LIVE updates Here

On March 31, key opposition leaders of the INDIA bloc came together during ‘Loktantra Bachao’ Maharally at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan in solidarity with Arvind Kejriwal to protest against the larger concern of  ‘misuse’ of central agencies by PM Modi-led government.

The Election Commission is also reportedly mulling an advisory on INDIA bloc's ‘misuse of central agencies' concerns ahead of polls

Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud said on Sunday he believes that premier investigative agencies are "spread out too thin". He said these agencies must only focus on those issues that concern national security and crimes of economic offences against the nation.

The Indian Express report said that the cases faced by Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel, two top leaders of the NCP faction, were subsequently closed. It said that at least 12 prominent politicians from Maharashtra are on the list of 25.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar, had broken ranks with the NCP faction founded by his uncle, Sharad Pawar, and joined the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv-Sena-BJP government last year. NCP leader Praful Patel  had joined the NDA in 2023.

In Ajit Pawar’s case, the Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) filed a closure report in October 2020 when he was part of the previous MVA government, The case was, however, reopened when the BJP returned to power along with Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction. The case was finally closed March 2024 after he joined the NDA. The ED’s case against Pawar, based on the EOW action, has since been rendered infructuous, according to The Indian Express report.

Also Read: INDIA bloc's ‘Loktantra Bachao’ Maharally and Arvind Kejriwal's tryst with Ramlila Maidan

Among other cases that have seen no progress include that of West Bengal Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, who switched to BJP from TMC in 2020. Similarly the cases of Assam Chief Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, both former Congressmen, have also seen no progress.

In 2009, during the UPA regime, The Indian Express  had reported  that the CBI had changed course in the corruption cases against BSP’s Mayawati and SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, when the two leaders were being courted by the ruling UPA.

Some prominent names in the list:

Ajit Pawar: Joined BJP-led NDA from NCP in 2023

Praful Patel: Joined BJP-led NDA from NCP in 2023

Himanta Biswa Sarma: Joined the BJP from Congress in 2015

Sanjay Seth: Joined BJP from SP in 2019

Suvendu Adhikari: Joined BJP from TMC in 2020

Chhagan Bhujbal: Joined BJP-led NDA from NCP in 2023 

Ashok Chavan: Joined BJP from Congress in 2024

Naveen Jindal: Joined BJP from Congress in 2024

Geeta Koda: Joined BJP from Congress in 2024

Baba Siddiqui: Joined BJP-led NDA from Congress in 2024

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Published: 03 Apr 2024, 09:48 AM IST
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