“If I’m active in Delhi or have participated in this movement for Rahul Gandhi, then why is revenge is taken on my brother? When there was a political crisis here in our government in 2020, at that time also the ED had raided my brother’s place,” he was quoted by PTI as saying.
“It’s not fair. We are not going to panic because of this… No member of my family is involved in politics. It is beyond comprehension that first they conducted an ED raid, and now a raid by CBI… At the last, the loss will only be of BJP and of the central government. The more they harass the people of the country, the more adverse impact they will suffer,” he said.
In its FIR, the CBI had alleged that subsidised fertilisers meant for farmers were exported to other countries, causing a loss of approximately Rs 52.8 crore to the exchequer. It had registered a case against 15 accused, including private companies based in Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, etc., and its directors, proprietors, partners and unknown others on these allegations.
The raids come amid protests by Congress over the ED questioning Rahul in a money-laundering case linked to the National Herald case.
“At least 65 CBI officials carried out searches at 17 different locations in Rajasthan, Gujarat and West Bengal since Friday morning in connection with the case. A team comprising 10 CBI officers raided the house of Agrasen Gehlot at Mandore, in Jodhpur. Agrasen … is the proprietor of M/S Anupam Krishi, Jodhpur,” a CBI officer said on conditions of anonymity.
Speaking to TOI, Vikas Bhalla, Agrasen’s counsel in the Rajasthan HC, said, “We have been cooperating with ED in this matter.” Officials didn’t disclose details of seizures made during the raids but maintained they would expand search operations if they found any new evidence.
According to CBI sources, the case is related to the alleged corruption in the import of muriate of potash (MoP), also known as potassium chloride, which was to be given to farmers at a subsidy of about 80% offered by the government. In the FIR it was alleged that the imported MoP was repackaged as industrial salt, fluorspar, and exported to Southeast Asian countries, Saudi Arabia and other markets.
It was also alleged that the subsidy offered by the government was claimed by the accused through sham transactions.
What Is The Fertiliser Scam?
The alleged irregularities are connected to the import and use of muriate of potash (MoP). It is imported by Indian Potash Ltd (IPL) and distributed to farmers, through companies, at subsidised rates. IPL is involved in handling imports, promotion and marketing of potash in the entire country, and provides it at subsidised rates to farmers.
According to officials, between 2007 and 2009 Agrasen Gehlot, who was an authorised IPL dealer, bought MoP at subsidised rates and, instead of distributing it to farmers, sold it to a few companies, which then exported it to other countries. MoP is on the list of items banned for export.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had unearthed the irregularities in 2012-13. The customs department had initially filed a case against Agrasen. Based on the chargesheet by customs, the ED had filed a money-laundering case against three firms and their owners, including Agrasen. The CBI has now registered a case against 15 companies and its owners.