NEW DELHI ;
MORE troubles for Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s elder brother Agrasain Gehlot seems to be coming up as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned him for questioning in fertiliser scam case. According to top ED sources, the agency has asked Agrasain Gehlot to appear before it on Wednesday at its office in the national capital. Last week, the financial probe agency carried out searches at 13 locations including the residential and official premises of Gehlot and others in Rajasthan, West Bengal, Gujarat and Delhi. The ED searches were carried under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
The ED has filed a case under the PMLA based on a Customs Department complaint and chargesheet in the alleged fertiliser scam case. According to ED officials Anupam Krishi, a company owned by Agrasain Gehlot was involved in exporting Muriate of Potash (MoP) fertilizer, which is banned for exports. MoP is imported by Indian Potash Limited (IPL) and distributed among farmers at subsidised rates. According to the officials, Agrasian Gehlot was an authorised dealer for IPL and between 2007-09, his company bought MoP at subsidised rates and instead of distributing to farmers sold it to few other companies, who in turn exported it to Malaysia and Singapore in the guise of industrial salt.
The searches comes in the backdrop of a political crisis in Rajasthan after the rebellion by then Deputy Chief Minister and PCC President Sachin Pilot, who was sacked from these posts on July 14. The case was unearthed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence in 2012-13. The BJP had raised the issue in 2017. Meanwhile, the Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday began hearing a plea by BJP MLA Madan Dilawar, challenging the State Assembly’s Speaker decision to reject his complaint against the induction of six BSP MLAs to the Congress. After giving a partial hearing to Dilawar’s plea questioning the Speaker’s order to reject his complaint without issuing notice to him and letting him have his say, a bench of Justice Mahendra Kumar Goyal slated the petition for further hearing at 2 pm on Thursday.
While starting the hearing on the BJP MLA’s plea, Justice Goyal also tagged with it a BSP petition challenging the Speaker’s order allowing the merger of all its six MLAs to the Congress last September. The judge said he would hear the two similar petitions together. BJP MLA Dilawar had on Tuesday filed two petitions before the court. The first petition challenged a communication from the Assembly secretariat informing the MLA that his complaint has been decided and rejected by the Speaker. The second plea to the High Court challenged the Speaker’s detailed order dated July 24 that rejected the MLA’s complaint against the merger of BSP MLAs with the Congress.
The court began hearing the BJP MLA’s second petition as well as the one by the BSP together. The MLA had lodged a complaint with Speaker’s office in March this year against the merger of the BSP MLAs which was decided and rejected on July 24. Dilawar has alleged the Speaker did not hear him while deciding and rejecting his complaint. He had also staged a ‘dharna’ in the Assembly secretary’s chamber on Monday to get the copy of the order. He was later given a communication saying his complaint has been rejected. The detailed order was received by him on Tuesday.
The Six BSP MLAs whose merger has been challenged by the BJP MLA, as well as the BSP, are Sandeep Yadav, Wajib Ali, Deepchand Kheria, Lakhan Meena, Jogendra Awana and Rajendra Gudha. They all had contested and won 2018 Assembly elections on BSP tickets but had defected to the Congress in September 2019. They submitted an application to the Speaker for the merger of their group with the Congress on September 16, 2019, and the Speaker allowed their plea on September 18, 2019.