Baghel has no right to continue as Chhattisgarh CM must quit Raman Singh after IT raids

     Raipur, Jul 5 (PTI) Senior BJP leader Raman Singh on Tuesday said the recent Income Tax department raids and seizure in Chhattisgarh has confirmed his party's claims about illegal money collection in coal transportation throughout the Congress-ruled state and accused the Bhupesh Baghel government of giving protection to those involved in it.<br>        Addressing a press conference here in the party office, he said Baghel should step down from his post as he has no moral right to continue as chief minister.<br>        "The IT department conducted a raid for the second time in 24 months at the residence of the chief minister's deputy secretary in Durg. Besides, over 30 locations were raided, including those of Suryakant Tiwari, considered close to the CM, and his partners during the exercise launched on June 30," the former CM alleged.<br>        The searches were conducted in Raipur, Bhilai, Raigarh, Korba, Bilaspur and Surajpur.<br>        Citing the agency's press note, Singh said, the IT department has seized "undisclosed" cash and jewelry worth Rs 14 crore and detected collection of unaccounted cash to the tune of over Rs 200 crore.<br>        "The raid confirmed that a huge amount of money is being illegally collected as commission on coal transportation throughout the state. Our party has been raising this issue for a long time," he said.<br>        Tiwari allegedly made "unaccounted" cash payments of about Rs 45 crore in purchasing coal washeries in Korba, and it was also revealed that money collected by this syndicate was spent during the recently held Assembly elections, Singh claimed.<br>        "Two people were at the focus of the entire action, namely Tiwari and the CM's deputy secretary. Both are working for the CM, which clearly suggests they enjoy his protection. Under the CM's protection, the two have been looting the state. The Congress government is completely dipped in corruption. Baghel has no moral right to continue as CM and he should step down," Singh said.<br>        According to a state police official, the residence of Soumya Chourasia, the deputy secretary at the Chief Minister's Office, was covered in the IT department's search.<br>        Reacting sharply, the ruling Congress said seeking resignation of the CM on the basis of IT raids reflects the frustration and political opportunism of Singh.<br>        “Singh's statement has clarified that the IT department's raid was part of the BJP's political campaign to use Central agencies against opposition parties. The BJP puts forward ED, IT and CBI in those states where it is unable to deal with opposition parties. If the IT has found something wrong then it will take legal action,” said Sushil Anand Shukla, head of state Congress communication wing.<br>        No leaders from BJP or its allies have ever been raided by Central agencies in the last 8 years, which puts the credibility of such agencies at stake, he said.<br>        "It is strange Singh whose (previous) government faced allegations as part of the Rs 36,000 crore civil supply scam, whose son's name allegedly figured in the Panama Papers scandal and who faced criticism for allegedly poaching Congress candidate in Antagarh bypoll held in 2014, is now seeking resignation of Chief Minister Baghel," Shukla said. PTI TKP<br>BNM   BNM

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)