Politics

Govt Fighting Opposition Instead of China and Covid-19, Says Ahmed Patel after 8 Hours of ED Questioning

Govt Fighting Opposition Instead of China and Covid-19, Says Ahmed Patel after 8 Hours of ED Questioning

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said on Saturday that his conscience was clear and he has nothing to hide, soon after being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate at his residence here in connection with the Sandesara brothers money laundering case. He accused the government of "using probe agencies every time it faced a crisis or when there was an election".

"If you were to do an analysis, you will see a clear pattern over the past many years. Every time there is a Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha election or the government is facing a crisis, one or more investigative agencies become active on the instructions of one individual," he said in a statement.

"Unfortunately this time, the (Narendra) Modi government's failure to manage an economic, health and national security crisis is now so huge, that none of the agencies can help spin the narrative," he said.

Patel alleged that rather than fighting the pandemic and China, this government was "more keen to fight the opposition".

"Nonetheless, our conscience is clear. We have nothing to hide, nor are we afraid to criticise and expose the government's failures and their past corruption," the Rajya Sabha MP and Congress treasurer said.

Sharing his statement on Twitter, Patel also said, "Today the Modi government sent some visitors to my house."

A three-member team along with few other officials of the Enforcement directorate reached Patel's 23, Mother Teresa Crescent, home in the Lutyens' zone of central Delhi around 11:30 am and left just before 9 pm. The team members were seen carrying files and wearing masks and gloves as precautionary measures against the coronavirus spread.

The officials said Patel's statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) during the eight-hour-long questioning and that his purported links with the Sandesara brothers are under the scanner.

The ED had summoned Patel, 70, twice for questioning in the case but the Congress Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat later cited prevailing COVID-19 guidelines that advises senior citizens to stay indoors in order to remain safe from the pandemic.

The agency then assured the Congress party treasurer that all care will be taken while he is questioned at its office but it was pointed out by his legal team that there are media reports about coronavirus cases being found in the ED headquarters too.

This money laundering case pertains to the alleged Rs 14,500 crore bank loan fraud that is said to have been perpetrated by the Vadodara-based pharma firm Sterling Biotech and its main promoters -- Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara and Deepti Sandesara -- all of whom are absconding. Nitin and Chetan are brothers.

The agency has said that this is a bigger bank scam in volume than the PNB fraud involving diamantaires Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.