• 23 out of 25 Opposition leaders accused of corruption got reprieve after joining BJP

    23 out of 25 Opposition leaders accused of corruption got reprieve after joining BJP
    23 of these leaders have received some relief in their cases from the investigating agencies, according to an April 3 Indian Express report.....

    Digital desk: At least 25 well-known opposition leaders who were being investigated by Central agencies for corruption have switched sides to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Since 2014, when Narendra Modi became the first Prime Minister of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) administration.

    23 of these leaders have received some relief in their cases from the investigating agencies, according to an April 3 Indian Express report.

    Ten Congress leaders, four NCP and Shiv Sena leaders, three Trinamool Congress leaders, two TDP leaders, one Samajwadi Party leader, and one YSRCP leader are among these leaders. According to an Indian Express article, up to three cases involving these opposition leaders have been closed, while the remaining 20 are either pending or in cold storage.
    Some of the prominent leaders who shifted to BJP since 2014:

    1. Ajit Pawar: Joined BJP-led NDA from NCP in 2023

    2. Praful Patel: Joined BJP-led NDA from NCP in 2023

    3. Himanta Biswa Sarma: Joined the BJP from Congress in 2015

    4. Sanjay Seth: Joined BJP from SP in 2019

    5. Suvendu Adhikari: Joined BJP from TMC in 2020

    6. Chhagan Bhujbal: Joined BJP-led NDA from NCP in 2023 

    7. Ashok Chavan: Joined BJP from Congress in 2024

    8. Naveen Jindal: Joined BJP from Congress in 2024

    9. Geeta Koda: Joined BJP from Congress in 2024

    10. Baba Siddiqui: Joined BJP-led NDA from Congress in 2024

    In the lead-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, six of the politicians on this list switched to the BJP. 

    At least 95% of well-known politicians against whom Central investigation authorities, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), took action after 2014 were members of the opposition, according to a 2022 Indian Express report. 

    The opposition has accused the PM Modi-led government of "misusing" investigation agencies, which is why the April 3 report was released. The opposition has referred to the BJP as a "washing machine," a reference to the growing trend of politicians who are charged with corruption but who, after joining the party, are never investigated.

    The report is released simultaneously with the ED's investigation into corruption allegations involving opposition leaders Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, and Hemant Soren, the former chief minister of Jharkhand.

    Prominent opposition leaders from the INDIA bloc joined forces with Arvind Kejriwal on March 31 at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi as part of the "Loktantra Bachao" Maharally to express unity against the government of Prime Minister Modi's "misuse" of federal agencies.

    The Election Commission is also reportedly mulling an advisory on INDIA bloc's ‘misuse of central agencies' concerns ahead of polls.

    On Sunday, Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud expressed his opinion that the country's top investigative institutions are "spread out too thin". According to him, these authorities should exclusively concentrate on matters about crimes against the country's economy and national security.

    Two prominent NCP leaders, Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel, had their charges closed, according to the Indian Express report. According to the report, the list of 25 includes at least 12 well-known Maharashtra lawmakers.

    Ajit Pawar, the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, joined the Shiv-Sena-BJP cabinet headed by Eknath Shinde last year after splitting from the NCP party that his uncle Sharad Pawar had founded. In 2023, NCP leader Praful Patel became a member of the NDA.

    When Ajit Pawar was a member of the previous MVA government, the Mumbai Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) filed a closure report in October 2020. However, when the BJP and the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena party returned to power, the matter was reopened. After he joined the NDA in March 2024, the case was ultimately closed. The Indian Express reports that the ED's case against Pawar, which was based on the EOW action, has since been declared infructuous.

    Other issues that remain unsolved include Suvendu Adhikari, the Leader of the Opposition in West Bengal, who switched from the TMC to the BJP in 2020. Similarly, the cases of Assam Chief Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, both former Congressmen, have also seen no progress.

    The Indian Express had stated in 2009, during the UPA government, that the CBI had redirected the corruption charges against SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP leader Mayawati while the two figures were being courted by the ruling UPA.