In contrast, in the last seven years, only 39 persons associated with the BJP and its allies have faced action from central bodies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department. The targeted category has the highest number of politicians (257) while the number of their relatives and associates is 140.
The opposition party with the maximum number of cases is the Congress, which targeted 75 members, followed by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in which 36 members faced ‘retaliatory action’. Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party’s number comes after this, 18 members of ‘AAP’ including Kejriwal were targeted.
During this period of seven years, no non-BJP political party remained untouched by the actions of central agencies. These include the Abdullah family of Kashmir and Mehbooba Mufti and party colleagues and relatives of DMK leader MK Stalin from Tamil Nadu.
Apart from politicians, their relatives and allies, a large group of critics of the government, 121 in total, have also come under fire, from film fraternity members such as Taapsee Pannu and directors Anurag Kashyap to Ashok Lavasa who have been vocal in their criticism of the government. Such as bureaucrats, former election commissioners who gave dissenting opinion about the clean chit given to PM Modi and Amit Shah during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are included.
Sudha Bharadwaj and other activists of the Bhima Koregaon case, who were seen against the BJP, were either booked or arrested. 29 media houses or journalists known for their critical reporting against the government have also faced the “outrage” of the government. The latest raids were on the mass-selling Dainik Bhaskar and Lucknow-based TV channel Bharat Samachar, which had reported scathingly during the second wave of Kovid.
Under UPA-II, central agencies acted promptly even against their leaders, during which action was taken against 27 Congress members or party allies, which was also in a higher proportion than the government under the BJP. The UPA-2 government took action against three of its rivals while the Modi government took action against about 15 of its rivals. This number has increased almost five times.
This analysis of NDTV has been done on the basis of three months of hard work and action taken by CBI, ED, Income Tax as well as Delhi Police on reported incidents and information available in public domain. Nor is there any comment on the ‘merit’ of the cases.
However, targeting critics of the government is not new, but the spurt in the number of cases targeting people of only one party and negligible action on the BJP and its allies raises questions about the Centre’s claim that no one Action was also not taken on political grounds. In the assembly elections state of UP this week, raids were also conducted by tax officials against the aides of BJP’s main rival Akhilesh Yadav. Earlier this year, ahead of the West Bengal and Tamil Nadu assembly elections, central agencies conducted raids against at least 14 Trinamool Congress leaders, relatives and associates and eight DMK leaders, including MK Stalin’s daughter and son-in-law.
On the contrary, central agencies have ignored allegations of ‘wrongdoing’ by BJP leaders at the Center and in the states. In Rajasthan and Karnataka in 2020 and 2018, the Congress released audio clips talking about the BPJ attempting to bribe its MLAs, but to no avail. Just a few months ago, two BJP politicians had publicly spoken about how entering the ruling party guarantees ‘protection’ from central agencies.