The property of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's brother was raided by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with an alleged scam in exporting fertiliser, sources said. The Enforcement Directorate or ED today carried out raids in several places across the country in connection with the case, sources said.
The raids were conducted by the central probe agency at 13 places including in Rajasthan, West Bengal, Gujarat and Delhi, news agency PTI reported.
Ashok Gehlot is in a battle to keep his government afloat after a rebellion by Sachin Pilot and MLAs loyal to him. The BJP has 76 MLAs in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly and to form government, the party will need the support of at least 25 more MLAs. But the BJP is looking at an additional 10 MLAs as a buffer.
According to ED sources, the company run by Agrasain Gehlot had sold the subsidised fertiliser "muriate of potash" or MoP to companies, who then exported it while it is banned for exports.
Indian Potash Ltd is the authorised importer of MoP and the chemical is distributed to farmers at subsidised rates.
Between 2007 and 2009, Agrasain Gehlot's firm Anupam Krishi, which was an authorised dealer of Indian Potash Ltd, bought MoP at subsidised rates and instead of distributing it to farmers, the company allegedly sold it to a few others who in turn exported it to Malaysia and Singapore in the guise of "industrial salt", investigators said.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence unearthed the alleged scam in 2012-13.
Agrasain Gehlot had then told the customs that some middlemen who bought MoP from him to distribute it to farmers had instead sold it for exports.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala questioned the timing of the raid.
"Prime Minister Modi has created raid raj in the country, but we are not going be scared. When the centre's gimmicks failed to topple the Congress government in Rajasthan, ED raids started on the premises of Gehlot's elder brother," Mr Surjewala said, PTI reported. "The CBI also interrogated CM's OSD (officer on special duty) and now ED raids are being conducted at CM's elder brother residence," he said.
The ED officers were assisted by Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF personnel, who were seen standing guard at the farmhouse and home of the Gehlots in Jodhpur, PTI reported.