NEW DELHI: The Congress today charged the Modi government with targeting political opponents by implicating them in false cases to divert people's attention from the "paralysis of governance", a day after party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda was chargesheeted by the CBI in a corruption case.
Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said that the party would not be cowed down by "such political vendetta" the Modi government had been unleashing against its leaders with a view to save itself from public outrage ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
He cited the example of the Bofors case and alleged that the BJP-led central government was keeping the issue alive to defame the Congress. The CBI yesterday filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging a 2005 order of the Delhi High Court quashing all charges against accused persons in the politically-sensitive Bofors pay-off case.
Surjewala alleged that this was being done purely with a view to divert attention from "paralysis of governance" and was part of a "conspiracy hatched by the Modi government and the BJP leadership for their vested political interests".
"The Modi government is indulging in political vendetta by lodging Congress leaders in false cases. As its political graph is falling down, the government is getting Congress leaders implicated in baseless and false cases through CBI and other agencies.
"But, Congress leaders will fight these conspiracies and false criminal cases with full rigour," he told reporters here.
Former Haryana chief minister Hooda and 33 others were yesterday chargesheeted by the CBI in the case of alleged corruption in Manesar land deals worth over Rs 1,500 crore, in which around 200 farmers were cheated.
Surjewala also targeted the Haryana government, alleging that these cases were also being used as a ploy to divert the attention from the abject "failure" of the state government in Haryana, where law and order has "broken down completely and anarchy prevails".
He said that several Congress leaders such as Bhupender Singh Hooda, Virbhadra Singh, Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot, P Chidambaram and his family, Ashok Chavan, Sheila Dikshit and Harish Rawat have been booked in false cases.
"There is public outrage against the Modi government in the country. The government wants to throttle opposition voice," the Congress leader said.
He said that the BJP-led government is using agencies such as the CBI as their "captive puppets".
"CBI has truly become a BJP's 'Captive Bureau of Investigation'. Rank politicisation of CBI by Modi Government to seek revenge against opposition leaders is writ large in successive cases," he also said.
According to the CBI FIR in the Manesar case, it is alleged that on August 27, 2004 and August 25, 2005, the Haryana government issued separate notifications for the acquisition of 912 acres of land for setting up an industrial model township at Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula villages in Gurgaon.
Threatening the farmers with the government's acquisition process, builders allegedly purchased around 459 acres from farmers at prices in the range of Rs 20-25 lakh per acre to Rs 1.50 crore per acre, the CBI has alleged.
Around 350 acres of land were bought at throwaway price of Rs 20-25 lakh per acre, while another 50 acres at the rate of even Rs 1.50 crore (approx) per acre, it said.
In 2007, the builders allegedly gave a plea in the office of the then chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, seeking withdrawal of the acquisition process which was done two months later on August 24, the CBI has alleged.
Surjewala said that Manesar land was released on August 24, 2007 and the Harayana's Khattar government lodged an FIR after eight years - on August 12, 2015 against unnamed persons, which was then handed over by "a predetermined design" to the CBI.