Curbing Corruption or Crushing Opposition? Modi Govt faces Huge Misuse Allegations of CBI/ED amidst Election Heat

It is important for voters to know the fine line between legitimate and effective Governance and misuse of Power.
Curbing Corruption - Crushing Opposition - Modi Govt - taxscan

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has made yet another arrest of one of Modi Govt’s critics on last Thursday, just a month before India holds a national election.

Earlier on March 22, the Delhi High Court’s division bench declined to issue interim protection orders against coercive actions for Kejriwal at this stage of the case. Kejriwal has petitioned the Delhi High Court, contesting the summons issued by the central probe agency, and has also filed for interim protection. The court has scheduled a hearing for April 22.

Read More: ED arrests Sitting CM Kejriwal in Delhi Liquor Policy Case

ED’s allegations against Sitting Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal center around the excise policy being orchestrated to benefit certain private companies with a 12% profit margin, a detail not recorded in the minutes of Group of Ministers ( GoM ) meetings.

In parallel, one of the major opponents of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Indian National Congress is facing back-to-back notices, demands and raids from the revenue agencies.

The Income Tax department may make a fresh tax demand from Congress on ‘unaccounted transactions’ worth Rs 523-plus crore between 2014-2021, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.

The Indian National Congress is already facing a tax demand of Rs 135 crore, which has been frozen in its bank accounts by the tax department.

On the other hand, the Enforcement Directorate is its most active state in the past few years, with twitter feeds buzzing every other day about a raid, search and seizure or arrest.

Check out Taxscan’s Comprehensive Coverage Here: Enforcement Directorate (ED) | Taxscan

During a press conference on Thursday, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, along with party President Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, denounced the freezing of the Party’s bank accounts as a “criminal act” carried out by the Prime Minister and the Home Minister.

The freezing of the Congress party’s bank accounts is a criminal act perpetrated by the Prime Minister and the Home Minister, alleged the Congress leader.

The increasing dominance of the ruling party, both in terms of electoral strength and in shaping the national narrative, with alternative voices struggling to gain traction among the masses, indicates a concerning trend in India’s democratic history.

Over the past decade, there has been a systematic decline in opposition within the Indian political landscape, where opposition parties not only failed to influence voters during elections but also lacked a cohesive national vision or strategy, evident in their reactive and improvised approaches.

This situation has been exacerbated by deliberate suppression of dissenting voices by the ruling party, leading to obstruction of alternative viewpoints and conflict arising from criticism.

India’s decline in areas such as press freedom, human rights violations, and the frequent use of repressive laws like the UAPA, PMLA and sedition, and agencies like CBI, ED and Income Tax and Goods and Services Tax Departments to silence dissent has become a common occurrence in the news.

In 2023, fourteen political parties had approached the Supreme Court against the alleged use of central investigating agencies such as Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in arresting opposition political leaders and other citizens exercising their fundamental right to dissent and disagree with the present Union Government.

The perception that effective governance is often mistaken for suppressive action is a complex issue that requires careful consideration and analysis. While it is true that good governance entails efficient utilization of governmental resources to curb corruption and promote development, there is a fine line between legitimate governance measures and actions that suppress dissent and stifle democracy.

One key aspect where this confusion arises is in the use of legal frameworks and government agencies to tackle corruption and maintain law and order. For example, laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), sedition laws, and the utilization of investigative agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax Department, and Goods and Services Tax (GST) Departments are essential tools to combat corruption and financial crimes.

However, the misuse or overzealous application of these laws and agencies can lead to the suppression of dissenting voices and political opponents. When these instruments are used not for genuine investigative purposes but to target political rivals or muzzle criticism, it undermines the principles of democracy and erodes trust in institutions.

As voters and citizens, it is crucial to discern between legitimate governance actions aimed at curbing corruption and those intended to suppress dissent. Here are some ways to make informed decisions and vote judiciously:

Scrutinize Intentions: Evaluate the government’s actions and policies to discern whether they are genuinely aimed at promoting good governance and curbing corruption or if they are being used to target political opponents and silence dissenting voices.

Assess Transparency: Look for transparency and accountability in government actions. Transparent processes and clear justifications for using legal measures and agencies instill confidence that governance is being conducted in a fair and just manner.

Examine Track Record: Consider the track record of political parties and leaders regarding their respect for democratic principles, freedom of expression, and protection of human rights. Past actions can provide insights into their approach to governance and dissent.

Engage in Dialogue: Participate in public discourse and discussions to understand different perspectives on governance issues. Engaging with diverse viewpoints can help in forming a balanced and informed opinion.

Support Independent Institutions: Advocate for the independence and autonomy of institutions such as the judiciary, media, and investigative agencies. Strong and impartial institutions are essential for upholding democracy and ensuring accountability.

By applying these principles and critically evaluating the actions of political parties and leaders, voters can make informed choices and contribute to a healthy democratic process that balances effective governance with respect for dissent and diversity of opinions.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Taxscan premium. Follow us on Telegram for quick updates