List of political figures under scrutiny by central agencies reveals attempt to corner opposition

The exclusive focus of central agencies on leaders from opposition parties raises concerns about institutional bias.

Published : Feb 18, 2024 23:26 IST - 11 MINS READ

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. | Photo Credit: PTI


Sonia and Rahul Gandhi: In 2022, they were hauled before the ED several times in connection with The National Herald newspaper-linked money laundering case. In 2013, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy accused the Gandhis of fraudulently acquiring the assets of Associated Journals Ltd, the paper’s publisher, and transferring them to Young Indian Pvt. Ltd, a not-for-profit company in which the Gandhis owned 38 per cent shares each.

Robert Vadra.

Robert Vadra. | Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA

Priyanka and Robert Vadra: In November 2023, the ED charged Priyanka Vadra with playing a role in buying a piece of land from a real estate agent in Faridabad in 2006 and selling it back to him in 2010. In December 2023, the ED named Robert Vadra in a case involving the arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari and others, accusing him of “renovating” and “residing” in a London property held by the fugitive dealer.

Karti Chidambaram, Congress MP: In December 2023, the ED charged him in an alleged money laundering case involving issuing visas to Chinese nationals in 2011. He is also being questioned in two other cases of money laundering. Last April, the ED attached his property worth Rs.11 crore over foreign exchange clearances given to the INX Media group in 2007-08 when his father, P. Chidambaram, was Union Finance Minister. The case is based on allegations of bribery by the company’s promoters, including Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea, for securing the clearances. Karti was arrested in February 2017, while his father was taken into custody in August 2019. Both are out on bail.

Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister: The ED has issued six summons, the latest on February 14, in connection with alleged money laundering linked to the Delhi excise policy case, in which his AAP colleagues Manish Sisodia, Satyendra Jain, Sanjay Singh, and Vijay Nair are already arrested. The agencies have alleged that the money so earned was diverted through hawala channels for the AAP’s election campaign in the 2022 Goa election. But the party says the agencies are yet to establish a money trail.

Also Read | Halting the juggernaut

Madhya Pradesh

Govind Singh, Congress leader: The ED sent him a summons in January 2023. Singh claimed it was an election ploy and pointed out that the agency had not even mentioned the nature of his violations. He has challenged the ED’s notice in the Supreme Court.


Raninder Singh, son of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh: In October 2020, when Amarinder Singh was still Chief Minister, the ED summoned Raninder for a probe under the Foreign Exchange Management Act relating to the income tax department’s findings of assets acquired abroad in the 2005-07 period and not disclosed. The trial is pending.

Bharat Bhushan Ashu.

Bharat Bhushan Ashu. | Photo Credit: AKHILESH KUMAR

Bharat Bhushan Ashu, former Cabinet Minister in the Congress government: He was accused of money laundering, and in 2023 the ED seized assets and deposits worth Rs.6 crore. In 2022, Punjab Vigilance Bureau arrested him for an alleged involvement in a food grain scam.

Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, former Forest Minister in the Congress government: The ED arrested Dharamsot in January under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) following an investigation into an alleged forest scam when he was Minister. The Punjab Congress has accused the ruling AAP and the BJP at the Centre of political vendetta.


Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Bhupinder Singh Hooda. | Photo Credit: ANI

Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former Congress Chief Minister: In January, the ED questioned Hooda in connection with alleged irregularities in land acquisition in Manesar between 2004 and 2007.

Surender Panwar, Congress MLA, Sonipat, and Dilbag Singh, former Indian National Lok Dal MLA, Yamunanagar: The ED conducted raids in a PMLA case on alleged illegal river mining in the Yamunanagar region.

Jammu and Kashmir

Farooq Abdullah

Farooq Abdullah | Photo Credit: ANI

Farooq Abdullah, National Conference leader: Summoned by the ED in January for alleged financial irregularities linked to the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association.

Gulshan Nazir and Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, mother and brother of former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti: The ED questioned Nazir in 2021 about alleged payments made from the Chief Minister’s discretionary fund and questioned Tassaduq about funds allegedly received from Kashmir-based businesses during Mehbooba Mufti’s tenure.

Chaudhary Lal Singh, former Minister who quit the BJP in 2019 after his alleged support to the Kathua rape accused: The ED arrested him in November 2023 in a case under the PMLA involving charges of land grabbing by his family-run educational trust.

Uttar Pradesh

Akhilesh Yadav along with his wife, Dimple Yadav.

Akhilesh Yadav along with his wife, Dimple Yadav. | Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA

Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party chief and former Chief Minister: In January 2019, the ED registered a case against Yadav in an alleged river mining case. In February 2020, Yadav was detained during a protest against the Centre’s three new farm laws. His wife and son too have been accused in alleged money laundering cases.

Dinesh Kumar Singh, Samajwadi Party’s Uttar Pradesh secretary: The ED arrested him in July 2023 in a money laundering case linked to the “bike bot scam”. The ED said that Singh and others lured people to invest in bikes that were maintained by a company, Garvit Innovative Promoters Ltd. The funds were then rotated ponzi style and ultimately used in the creation of assets in the name of the company and other persons.


Mahesh Joshi, Congress’ former Cabinet Minister: In January, Joshi was raided by the ED in an investigation into the Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission. The case stems from a recent FIR registered by the Anti Corruption Bureau, Rajasthan, against contractors and others for allegedly “bribing public servants”.

Govind Singh Dotasra, former Education Minister: Ahead of the State Assembly election in 2023, the ED searched the premises of Dotasra and Congress MLA Om Prakash Hudla as part of a money laundering probe linked to the alleged leak of a question paper of a Teacher Competitive Examination in 2022.

Vaibhav and Agrasen Gehlot, son and brother of former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot: They were summoned in an alleged foreign exchange violation case and the diversion of fertilizers during 2007-09.


Hemant Soren, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha president and former Chief Minister: He was arrested in January for an alleged land scam. He has challenged the ED to produce any records naming him as the owner of the 8.5 acres in question. The agency is probing several cases in the State.

Dhiraj Prasad Sahu, Rajya Sabha MP (Congress): The ED grilled Sahu for some 11 hours in February in connection with a money laundering case and the alleged land fraud in which Soren has been arrested.


Bhupesh Baghel, former Chief Minister and his associates: The ED conducted raids ahead of the Assembly election in 2023, alleging that the promoters of the Mahadev betting app paid bribes worth Rs.508 crore to Baghel. Asim Das, the alleged cash courier, later retracted his accusation against Baghel, claiming he had been framed.


Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Lalu Prasad Yadav. | Photo Credit: ANI

Lalu Prasad, RJD chief and former Chief Minister: He is implicated in a land-for-jobs scam, which also involves his wife and former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, their son and former Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, and their two daughters Misa Bharti and Hema Yadav. He is also charged with the cheap sale of properties to his kin when he was Railway Minister from 2004 to 2009.


Raj Thackeray, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief, and Unmesh Joshi, son of former Chief Minister Manohar Joshi: In 2023, the ED questioned them over alleged irregularities relating to the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services group’s loan and equity investment in Kohinoor CTN Ltd, which is developing Kohinoor Square tower in Dadar (West).

Raj Thackeray.

Raj Thackeray. | Photo Credit: PTI

Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP: Raut was arrested in July 2022 in a money laundering case that involved irregularities in the redevelopment of a Mumbai chawl. In November 2022, a special court granted him bail, slamming the ED for its “pick and choose attitude” to arrests.

Anil Parab, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader: The ED provisionally attached assets worth Rs.10.20 crore. He has moved the Bombay High Court to quash the FIR.

Pratap Sarnaik, Shiv Sena MLA: In March 2022, the ED attached Sarnaik’s assets worth Rs.11.35 crore in connection with the National Spot Exchange Ltd scam. A money laundering investigation was also initiated by the Economic Offences Wing of Mumbai Police.

Arjun Khotkar, Shiv Sena leader: In June 2022, the ED attached Khotkar’s properties in a case pertaining to the alleged illegal sale of cooperative sugar mills by officials of Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank.

Nawab Malik, NCP (Sharad Pawar) leader: The ED arrested Malik in a case linked to the gangster Dawood Ibrahim and associates. In January, the Supreme Court extended Malik’s bail by six months.

Chhagan Bhujbal, Praful Patel, and Hasan Mushrif of the NCP, who joined the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government: Charged by the ED in many cases, after their switch to the Eknath Shinde faction, investigations seem to have been halted. Charges against them include irregular allotment of a prime plot in Mumbai, a money laundering case involving Dawood Ibrahim’s aide Iqbal Mirchi, and irregularities in the operations of Sar Senapati Santaji Ghorpade Sugar Factory Ltd in Kolhapur. Supriya Sule’s nephew Rohit Pawar has also been questioned by the ED in the money laundering case.

West Bengal

Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee: He is being investigated by the CBI and the ED over his alleged role in the primary school teachers recruitment scam of 2016. The ED also questioned Abhishek in a 2021 coal pilferage case.

Abhishek Banerjee with his aunt Mamata Banerjee

Abhishek Banerjee with his aunt Mamata Banerjee | Photo Credit: PTI

Saket Gokhale, Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP: He was charged by the Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Branch for the alleged misuse of money he had collected through crowdfunding.

Subodh Chakraborty, former North Dumdum Municipality chairman; Sujit Bose, Fire and Emergency Services Minister, and Tapas Roy, Minister of State for Planning and Statistics: Each of them had their homes raided in January. The ED was investigating irregularities in recruitments in civic bodies.

Jyotripriya Mallick, former Minister: He was arrested in October in connection with an alleged case of corruption in the public distribution system.

Partha Chatterjee, former Education Minister and his aide Arpita Mukherjee: Arrested in 2022 in the teachers’ recruitment scam. Vast amounts of cash were recovered from Mukherjee’s residence.

Sukanya Mondal, daughter of Trinamool’s Anubrata Mondal: She was arrested in 2023 in connection with cattle smuggling after Anubrata was arrested for the same reason the previous year.


D.K. Shivakumar, Deputy Chief Minister: The ED arrested Shivakumar in September 2019 on charges of money laundering and income tax evasion. An FIR was filed against him in October 2020 on the basis of searches carried out by the income tax department in August 2017 at some 70 premises linked to him. In November 2022, the ED summoned Shivkumar in connection with The National Herald PMLA case for donations he made to Young Indian.

D. K. Shivakumar.

D. K. Shivakumar. | Photo Credit: ANI

K.Y. Nanjegowda, Congress MLA: The ED raided his premises in January under the PMLA. The case goes back to police FIRs relating to alleged irregularities in the appointment of staff in the Kolar-Chikkaballapur District Cooperative Milk Producers Union. The 61-year-old, who represents Malur in the Assembly, is also the president of the union.

R.M. Manjunath Gowda, Congress leader: In October 2023, the ED raided several properties linked to Gowda as part of its probe into an alleged scam at the Shivamogga District Cooperative Central Bank.

Also Read | Is 2024 really a done deal for Modi and BJP?


K. Kavitha, Bharat Rashtra Samithi MLC: The ED questioned the daughter of former Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao in March 2023 for some nine hours in connection with the Delhi excise policy case. The CBI and ED alleged the policy was modified to give wholesalers and retailers a high profit margin. Vijay Nair of the AAP allegedly received on behalf of the party an advance of Rs.100 crore from the “South Group”, in which Kavitha’s name figured.

Revanth Reddy.

Revanth Reddy. | Photo Credit: PTI

Revanth Reddy, Congress leader and Chief Minister: The prime accused in a 2015 cash-for-votes case, he was recently served a notice by the Supreme Court on a plea to shift his impending trial after he became Chief Minister and Home Minister of the State. The ED had charge-sheeted Reddy, BRS MLA Sandra Venkata Veeraiah, and four others in 2021 for the 2015 case. In 2023, ahead of the State Assembly election, Reddy accused the Central agencies of solely harassing Congress leaders through raids.

Tamil Nadu

E.V. Velu, Minister of Public Works: In November 2023, the income tax department carried out searches at multiple locations over allegations of tax evasion by the DMK leader and his family-run institutes and businesses in several parts of the State.

V. Senthil Balaji, former Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise: He was arrested on the charge of money laundering in June 2023 in connection with a cash-for-jobs scam when he was Minister for Transport (2011-14) in the AIADMK government.

Meanwhile, in other cases…
Following is a list of alleged scams that were uncovered in States ruled by the BJP, which often implicated members of the ruling party and their associates. Here, the investigations have not made much progress.
Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan as Chief Minister:
Vyapam – Rs.10,000 crore
E-Tenders – Rs.3,000 cr
MGNREGA – Rs.2,500 cr
Nutritious food distribution – Rs.110 cr
Marriage Assistance Scheme – Rs.30.4 cr
Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma as Chief Minister:
Saradha Chit Fund – Rs.3 cr
Louis Berger – Rs.1,452 cr
PPE Kit Scam – Rs.4.20 cr
Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu as Chief Minister:
Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority –Rs.588.40 cr
Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana – Rs.68.4 cr
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana – Rs.142 cr
Hydropower - Rs.14,000 cr
Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister:
IT scam – Rs.25,000 cr
Advertisements – Rs.500 cr
Road Tendering– Rs.6,000 cr
Land scam – Rs.1,767 cr
Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar as Chief Minister:
Land scam – Rs.182.56 cr
Haryana Public Service Commission scam – Rs.3.29 cr
Mining scam – Rs.5,000 cr
Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister:
Teacher recruitment scam - Rs.8 lakh and Rs.12 lakh bribes for 69,000 assistant teachers’ posts.
Dewan Housing Finance Corporation scam - Rs.2,631.2 cr

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