25 politicians facing corruption charges flock to BJP, 23 get relief: Report

The Indian Express investigation found that upon switching to the BJP, legal action against the politicians have either come to a halt or have been significantly delayed in 23 out of 25 of these cases.
Ajit Pawar
Ajit Pawar
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An investigation conducted by The Indian Express has found that 25 prominent politicians facing corruption allegations and scrutiny by central agencies have switched to the BJP from various other parties since 2014. In 23 of these cases, legal action against them was either stopped or has stagnated after they joined the BJP. According to the report, this contrasts sharply with the treatment of politicians in the opposition.

Since 2014, a total of 25 prominent politicians, hailing from various political backgrounds, have joined BJP after they faced action by central agencies. Among them are former members of the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Samajwadi Party (SP), and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP). 

What's particularly noteworthy is that upon switching political allegiances, in 23 out of 25 of these cases, the legal action against these politicians have either come to a halt or have been significantly delayed. 

“This is in sharp contrast to what happens when the accused is in the Opposition — an investigation by The Indian Express in 2022 revealed how 95% of prominent politicians that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took action against after 2014, when the NDA came to power, were from the Opposition,” the report said.

This phenomenon, termed the "washing machine" by the Opposition, suggests that joining the BJP provides a shield against legal consequences for corruption charges. While this phenomenon is not entirely new, the scale and frequency of such occurrences is, the report added. 

It said that Maharashtra is a hotspot for such actions, especially during the political upheavals in the state in 2022 and 2023. Leaders like Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel have seen their cases closed after joining the ruling coalition. 

In the case of Ajit Pawar, the Mumbai Police's Economic Offences Wing closed it in October 2020 while he was part of the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. However, once the BJP regained power, they reopened the case, only to close it again in March after he joined the NDA. This rendered the ED's case against Pawar ineffective.

Similarly, cases against politicians like Suvendu Adhikari, Himanta Biswa Sarma, and Ashok Chavan have also either been stalled or seen minimal progress post their party switch.

Other cases are still open but haven't made much progress. For example, the CBI has been waiting since 2019 for permission to prosecute West Bengal Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, who was an MP when the Narada sting operation happened. Adhikari switched from TMC to BJP in 2020. 

Cases involving Himanta Biswa Sarma and Ashok Chavan have also seen no progress. Sarma faced CBI inquiries in 2014 for the Saradha chit fund scam but since joining BJP in 2015, there hasn't been any progress. Chavan joined BJP in 2024 even though there's a Supreme Court stay on proceedings by CBI and ED in the Adarsh Housing case.

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