The Gehlot’s of Rajasthan have been caught in a spot. While Ashok Gehlot – the Chief Minister who was coronated on the seat without a public mandate solely in his favour, would want a cessation of troubles which seem to be mounting for him, it has now been revealed that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is conducting raids at the residence of Agrasain Gehlot, the Chief Minister’s elder brother. The said raids, which commenced this morning, are being conducted in relation to the ‘fertiliser scam’ in which the name of elder Gehlot figures more than prominently.
While Ashok Gehlot is fighting everyday to save his government in Rajasthan, the ED has raided close to 13 locations across the country today (six in Rajasthan, four in Gujarat, two in West Bengal, and one in New Delhi) in relation to the scam, and on charges of the culprits being involved in money laundering. Agrasain Gehlot is the owner of a company named Anupam Krishi, on which the Customs department has levied a penalty of Rs 7 crore for alleged violations of rules in exports. Apart from this, reports suggest that the activities of the company have costed the government a whopping 60 crore rupees so far.
According to reports, the probe revolves around the export of Muriate of Potash (MoP), which is essential for plant growth and quality. According to ED officials, Agrasen Gehlot is accused of selling the MoP, which he got at subsidised rate meant for sale to Indian farmers alone, to companies based abroad.
Between 2007 and 2009, Agrasain Gehlot’s firm Anupam Krishi, which was an authorised dealer of Indian Potash Ltd (Indian Potash Ltd is the authorised importer of MoP), bought MoP at subsidised rates and instead of distributing the same to farmers, sold it to other quarters, who in complete contestation of existing laws, exported it to Malaysia and Singapore in the guise of “industrial salt”.
It is pretty much impossible for Agrasain Gehlot to be the main culprit in a scam while Ashok Gehlot is unaware of the same, if not an all-out active participant. As such, how can the latter, whose political future hangs in an uncertain balance, issue blatantly frivolous and distasteful comments against a sincere leader like Sachin Pilot? In fact, ever since inevitable chaos has hit his government, there has been no stopping Ashok Gehlot from making Sachin Pilot a punching bag. Gajendra Singh Shekhwat too has been targeted, since Gehlot is now perhaps venting out frustration of his son – Vaibhav Gehlot remarkably losing the Jodhpur constituency to the Union Minister in 2019.
Ashok Gehlot is in a glass house himself, and for him to call Sachin Pilot a nikamma, seems to be too rich of a man whose Chief Ministership in all likelihood is on the verge of collapsing. Meanwhile, the political implications of the ED raids, and of the involvement of Gehlot’s in such a scam will become clear in the coming days, of course.