He also condemned the fresh summons issued to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot for questioning by the ED in a 12 year old case and said that the party is against corruption.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Pilot said, “Today in Rajasthan what happened you all have seen. As you know that in Rajasthan the elections are just 29 days away. The model code of conduct is in force in the state and today the central agency’s action of searches in Jaipur and other cities shows the intentand their aim. The misuse of the central agencies has been proven today. The ED action ahead of the polls against the Congress leaders to threaten it is watched by the people.”
Asserting that the Congress is against corruption, Pilot said that if there is a fair probe and if any evidence is found against anyone we are with the agencies.
“But the way they targeted the state unit chief’s (Govind Singh Dotasara) residence in Rajasthan shows that the BJP is sensing its defeat in Rajasthan. His premises was searched despite no summon being issued to him, and it is a kind of messaging that if they (BJP) are politically weak then to help them there are central agencies like CBI, ED and IT, which they will misuse,” he said.
He said that the Congress condemns it (agencies action) and the Congress believes that the elections should be fought on the basis of principles.
“The Congress is contesting in all the five states on its own strength and today’s action is a clear message in the way in which a summon has been issued to him,” the former Deputy Chief Minister said.
Pilot also batted for Gehlot’s son Vaibhav and said, “He (Vaibhav Gehlot) has himself said that it is a 12 year old case in which he has been summoned. Surprisingly after the polling dates were announced then a summon was issued to him which shows why they have sent it now.”
He added that it was surprising for him that while the ED was carrying out searches at the premises of the Congress leaders the BJP was giving a clarification.
“This is beyond understanding. The agencies are being used as weapons. It is dangerous for democracy. One should learn from Rahul Gandhi how he faced the central agencies,” Pilot said.
Hitting out at the BJP government at the Centre, the Congress leader said, “The timing, the intent of the ED’s action is suspicious. This is not the first time that the opposition top leaders are being targeted. And once the elections are over the same cases are forgotten. The agencies are being used as political tools. And this is being seen by the people of the state as well as the country. This is a dangerous trend and it is not good for democracy.”
Responding to a question about the ED’s action in the alleged paper leak case and he staging a protest over the same issue, Pilot said, “The ED has not issued any statement on the case in which it is carrying out searches. I had myself led from the front against the paper leak. I am with the youth as it hurts their future.”
He said that when he raised the issue of the paper leak, the party leadership in Delhi took note of it and following that a Bill was passed in the state assembly recommending life imprisonment for it.
To another question about the BJP accusing the Congress of trying to politicize the ED action in Rajasthan, Pilot, who is also the former state unit chief said, “I think the one who is politicizing the country’s institutions is the ruling dispensation (BJP) as it is using the agencies as a weapon and a tool to harass and target the leaders of the opposition parties.”
He said that when they (BJP) feel that they are losing the election they use the central agencies.
“When the election is 29 days away, it is raiding and issuing summons in a 12 year old case. Bringing up a 12 year old case ahead of the polls is a telling example of how the government is operating and certainly they are fearful that they are not going to win,” he added.
The remarks from the Congress leader came after the ED carried out searches at over 11 locations in the desert state, including the premises of Govind Singh Dotasara, independent MLA Omprakash Dudla and others in the alleged paper leak case.
However, senior officials of the ED remained tight-lipped on its action in the poll bound state. The polling for the 200 member assembly is scheduled on November 25 and the counting of votes will take place on December 3.