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Allegations of BJP using central agencies against opponents baseless: FM

Nirmala Sitharaman termed the charge of the BJP-led government using central agencies against political opponents as "baseless allegations".

Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Press Trust of India Mumbai
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday termed the charge of the BJP-led government using central agencies against political opponents as "baseless allegations".
Speaking to reporters here, she also wondered how meetings between opposition like the ones involving Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and NCP's Sharad Pawar continue, if the Centre was putting pressure through the agencies.
She explained that the ED acts only when an offence has been created or registered somewhere, and if there is a case made under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Asked specifically about the charges of the BJP using central agencies against the opposition to silence them or to make state governments unstable, Sitharaman rubbished the allegations as "baseless".
"Assume that we are using the investigative agencies against the opposition, here all three have come together and are making public statements. What is the use of the pressure? There is no pressure being applied. If you want to meet, please do so," she said.
Without naming the BJP workers, the FM said the same opposition which is using the state police against 'karyakartas' (workers) in West Bengal, should not be making such allegations.
She also explained how the ED, which comes under the Ministry of Finance, goes about its work as a law enforcement agency.
"Even if ED wishes to do something for political or any other (reasons), it is just not possible. Unless you have the material before you which is substantive enough (to act).and ED, mind you, cannot go there first. It's a law enforcing agency which deals with predicate offence, which means there is an offence somewhere that is acted upon, post that there is an offence created which is coming under the PMLA realm and then the ED goes in there," she said.
".even if I wish, it (investigation) just cannot happen. But, even if I wish, if there is an offence there, I can't stop it either," she added.
The Opposition has been vociferous in its protest over the use of central agencies, claiming that there is a pattern of political adversaries being targeted by the arms of the central government.
"Every party has the right in a democracy to meet and build alliances. But don't speak about pressure. You meet and definitely talk. If we assume that the pressure is indeed being applied, you are still talking? Which means what is the use of the pressure. This is a baseless allegation, I am saying again and again, the FM said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 22 2022 | 8:03 PM IST

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