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Kajal Agrawal

Since 2014, 25 Opposition leaders facing corruption probe crossed over to BJP, 23 of them got reprieve Featured

  03 April 2024

3 cases closed, 20 stalled; officials say probe is open, will act if required.BJP Washing machine washed these leaders corruption.

The law takes its own course — unless it is nudged by politics.

Since 2014, as many as 25 prominent politicians facing action from Central agencies for alleged corruption have crossed over to the BJP. They cut across party lines: 10 are from the Congress; four each from NCP and Shiv Sena; three from TMC; two from TDP; and one each from SP and YSRCP.

In 23 of these cases, their political move has translated into reprieve, an investigation by The Indian Express has found.

Three of the cases have been closed; 20 others remain stalled or in cold storage — the investigative agency’s action, after the switch, has been, in fact, inaction. Six of the politicians on this list moved to the BJP this year alone, weeks before the general elections.

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 per cent 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 Opposition calls it the “washing machine,” the mechanism by which politicians accused of corruption don’t face legal consequences if they quit their party and join the BJP.

Not that this is new — it’s the scale that is unprecedented.

In 2009, in the Congress-led UPA years, an investigation by The Indian Express revealed file notings to show the CBI had changed course in the corruption cases against BSP’s Mayawati and SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav when the two leaders were being courted by the ruling UPA.

The latest set of findings show that a bulk of the Central action was focused on Maharashtra through the political turbulence of 2022 and 2023 in the state.

In 2022, the Eknath Shinde faction broke away from the Shiv Sena and formed a new government with the BJP. A year later, the Ajit Pawar faction broke away from the NCP and joined the ruling NDA coalition.

Records show that cases faced by two top leaders of the NCP faction, Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel, were subsequently closed. In all, 12 prominent politicians from Maharashtra are on the list of 25, eleven of whom switched to the BJP in 2022 or later, including four each from NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress.

Some of these cases present a stark picture:

* In the case of Ajit Pawar, the Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) filed a closure report in October 2020 when he was part of the previous MVA government, sought to reopen the case once the BJP returned to power, and closed the file again in March this year after he joined the NDA. The ED’s case against Pawar, based on the EOW action, has since been rendered infructuous.

* Then there are cases that remain open but just in name, with no notable progress. For instance, the CBI has been waiting since 2019 for sanction from the Lok Sabha Speaker to prosecute West Bengal Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari – he was an MP at the time of the alleged offence — in the Narada sting operation case. Adhikari switched from TMC to BJP in 2020.

* The cases against Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan are also stuck. Biswa faced CBI questioning and raids in 2014, in the Saradha chit fund scam, but the case against him has not moved since 2015 when he joined the BJP. Chavan joined the BJP this year even as a stay by the Supreme Court is in place over proceedings by the CBI and ED in the Adarsh Housing case.

In just two of the 25 cases — of former Congress MP Jyoti Mirdha and former TDP MP YS Chowdary — there is no evidence of a let-up by the ED even after the two leaders joined the BJP. At least, not yet.

The CBI, ED and Income Tax Department did not respond to questions from The Indian Express seeking comments on the latest findings.

However, a CBI official said that all the agency’s probes are “based on evidence”. “As and when evidence is found, appropriate action is taken.” When asked about the cases where the agency seems to have changed course once the accused has changed parties, the official said: “In some cases, action is delayed for various reasons. But they are open.”

An ED official said its cases are based on FIRs by other agencies. “If other agencies close their case, it becomes difficult for ED to proceed further. Yet, we have filed chargesheets in many such cases. In cases where the probe is on, action will be taken when required,” the official said, when asked about the flip-flops.

Pawar, Patel, Adhikari, Sarma… how some cases were closed, others sent to cold storage

FROM closing the case to putting it in cold storage — this is how the Enforcement Directorate, CBI and IT Department changed course once the accused changed their party and moved over to the ruling BJP, reveals an investigation of the chronology of case records by The Indian Express.


Ajit Pawar Ajit Pawar.

Ajit Pawar: Mumbai probe shut, case hits dead end

Party Shift: NCP, shifted to BJP-led NDA in 2023

The Case: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW)’s FIR against Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar and others, in a case of money laundering linked to alleged irregularities in Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, was based on a Bombay High Court order of August 2019. The ED’s probe that followed also named Congress leaders Jayant Patil, Diliprao Deshmukh and the late Madan Patil; NCP’s Ishwarlal Jain and Shivaji Rao Nalawade; and Shiv Sena’s Anandrao Adsul.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

August 2019: Mumbai Police’s EOW registers FIR
September 2019: ED begins probe based on FIR
October 2020: EOW files closure report, ED challenges it
April 2022: ED files chargesheet without naming Pawar
June 2022: Sena splits, Shinde faction forms NDA govt with BJP
October 2022: Mumbai EOW seeks further probe based on ED evidence
July 2023: Pawar joins NDA govt as Dy CM
January 2024: EOW files second closure report
Current Status: ED has filed intervention application in court on EOW closure



Praful Patel  Praful Patel addressing a press conference.

Praful Patel: Safe landing after turbulence

Party Shift: NCP, shifted to BJP-led NDA in 2023

The Case: The former civil aviation minister is being probed by CBI and ED for alleged corruption in the purchase of 111 aircraft by Air India as well as in the AI-Indian Airlines merger. The allegations involve ceding of profitable routes to foreign airlines, opening of training institutes with foreign investment, and ties with lobbyist Deepak Talwar. The FIRs do not list Patel as an accused but mention his name.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

May 2017: CBI files FIRs in Air India-Indian Airlines merger
May 2019: ED names Patel in its chargesheet
June 2023: Patel joins NDA
March 2024: CBI files closure report
Current Status: Closure pending in court


Pratap Sarnaik Pratap Sarnaik

Pratap Sarnaik: 2 yrs after SOS letter, case closed

Party Shift: Shiv Sena, shifted to BJP-led NDA in 2022


The Case: The Shiv Sena spokesperson was booked and raided by ED over alleged irregularities in his companies’ dealings with a security firm. In June 2021, Sarnaik wrote to then CM Uddhav Thackeray for a patch-up with BJP, citing “harassment” by ED. In June 2022, he sided with Eknath Shinde as the Sena split. The ED is also probing Sarnaik in a case of alleged fraud at the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL).

Chronology of Flip-Flop

November 2020: ED conducts raids based on Mumbai EOW’s FIR
January 2021: EOW files closure report
June 2022: Sarnaik joins NDA with Shinde
September 2022: Court accepts closure report, blunting ED case
Current Status: No further action, probe on in another case



Himanta Biswa Sarma Himanta Biswa Sarma

Himanta Biswa Sarma: At the helm after years under lens

Party Shift: Congress, joined BJP in 2015

The Case: Now Assam CM, he was investigated by CBI and ED in 2014 and 2015 for alleged financial transactions with key Saradha chit fund scam case accused Sudipta Sen. The CBI raided his house and office in 2014, and questioned him. His name had figured in the Louis Berger case linked to alleged bribes paid for water project contracts in Goa, but there has been no development.

Chronology of Flip-Flop


August 2014: CBI raids Sarma’s residence
November 2014: CBI questions him
August 2015: Joins BJP
Current Status: Case open but no action


Hasan Mushrif Hasan Mushrif

Hasan Mushrif: How sugar probe turned

Party Shift: NCP, shifted to BJP-led NDA in 2023

The Case: The ED’s case relates to money laundering amid alleged irregularities at Sar Senapati Santaji Ghorpade Sugar Factory (SSSGSF) in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. The ED claimed that 40,000 farmers were not given share certificates after capital was collected from them. It alleged that the money collected was diverted to shell companies linked to Mushrif’s family and relatives.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

Feb-March 2023: ED raids Mushrif’s premises thrice
July 2023: Mushrif joins NDA with Ajit Pawar
Current Status: Case open but no further raids or action


Bhavana Gawali Bhavana Gawali

Bhavana Gawali: Trust pays off in the end

Party Shift: Shiv Sena, joined BJP-led NDA in 2022
The Case: The ED raids were related to a 2020 money laundering case in which the Yavatmal-Washim MP and her aide are among those accused of allegedly siphoning funds from a trust where irregularities of upto Rs 17 crore were found. The ED also attached an office building in Mumbai worth Rs 3.75 crore allegedly linked to the aide Saeed Khan.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

August 2021: ED searches premises linked to her
September 2021: ED arrests her aide
November 2021: ED files chargesheet against Trust and aide
June 2022: Joins NDA with Shinde
Current Status: No supplementary chargesheet filed


Yamini and Yashwant Jadhav Yamini and Yashwant Jadhav

Yamini & Yashwant Jadhav: Taxing times over as probe stalls

Party Shift: Shiv Sena, joined BJP-led NDA in 2022

The Case: MLA Yamini and her husband Yashwant, a corporator, are under investigation by multiple agencies, including ED. The ED is probing at least six companies allegedly linked to them and their family members for alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). A key case relates to unsecured loans received by the Jadhavs, their family members and others known to them from one of those companies. In 2022, the tax department attached more than 40 properties allegedly linked to them.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

February 2022: I-T raids premises linked to her and husband
May 2022: ED summons husband after registering case
June 2022: Joins NDA with Shinde
Current Status: No progress in case


CM Ramesh CM Ramesh

C M Ramesh: Inaction after shift

Party Shift: TDP, joined BJP in 2019
The Case: In October 2018, the I-T department raided premises associated with the company of then TDP MP, alleging irregularities of Rs 100 crore. Incidentally, following the I-T raids, he was among those against whom BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao wrote to the Parliament’s ethics committee seeking disqualification for earning the “dubious title of ‘Andhra Mallyas’ with massive financial scandals”.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

October 2018: Faces IT raid
June 2019: Joins BJP
Current Status: No action reported since


Raninder Singh Raninder Singh

Raninder Singh: Under Amarinder’s shadow

Party Shift: Congress, son of Amarinder Singh who joined BJP in 2021

The Case: Raninder Singh, the son of former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, is being probed by ED for alleged FEMA violations linked to an I-T probe. He appeared before the ED in 2016. In March 2018, the CBI questioned Gurpal Singh, Amarinder Singh’s son-in-law over an alleged loan fraud of around Rs 98 crore by Simbhaoli Sugars, where Gurpal was deputy general manager. Based on the CBI FIR, the ED registered a money laundering case and attached mill assets of Rs 110 crore in July 2019.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

November 2020: Raninder questioned by ED
November 2021: Father Amarinder quits Congress
September 2022: Amarinder joins BJP
Current Status: No progress in case


Sanjay Seth Sanjay Seth

Sanjay Seth: Case stalls, RS call

Party Shift: SP, joined BJP in 2019
The Case: In 2015, the I-T Department raided the offices of Shalimar Corp connected to Seth. Following UP Governor’s objection to Seth’s name for MLC polls, SP sent him to Rajya Sabha in 2016. Considered close to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family, Seth is said to have been instrumental in forging the SP-BSP alliance in 2019. In the recent Rajya Sabha polls, Seth was BJP’s surprise pick.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

June 2015: I-T raids Seth’s company
August 2019: Joins BJP
July 2023: His group’s executive questioned
February 2024: BJP fields Seth from UP for Rajya Sabha
Current Status: Probe on but no action



Suvendu Adhikari  Suvendu Adhikari during a press conference in BJP Office at Salk Lake.

Suvendu Adhikari: File pending on Speaker’s desk

Party Shift: TMC, joined BJP in 2020
The Case: West Bengal Leader of Opposition is an accused in the Narada sting operation case along with 11 other TMC leaders. The sting operation — in which TMC leaders were purportedly captured on camera accepting or negotiating cash delivery to allegedly favour a fictitious company — was filmed in 2014 and aired in 2016 ahead of Assembly elections.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

April 2017: CBI FIR in Narada sting case
April 2019: CBI seeks sanction for prosecution from Lok Sabha Speaker—Adhikari was LS MP at the time of the offence
December 2020: Joins BJP
Current Status: Still waiting for sanction from Speaker


K Geetha K Geetha

K Geetha: All eyes on CBI but no movement

Party Shift: YSRCP, joined BJP in 2019
The Case: YSRCP MP Geetha and her husband P Ramakoteswara Rao were chargesheeted in 2015 by CBI which accused their company Visweswara Infrastructure Pvt Ltd of duping Punjab National Bank by availing loans of Rs 42 crore through misrepresentation of facts, and defaulting. On March 12, the Telangana High Court stayed the conviction. On March 28, BJP named her as its candidate from Araku.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

June 2015: Geetha and husband chargesheeted by CBI for bank fraud
July 2019: Joins BJP
September 2022: Special court sentences both to 5 years jail
September 2022: Telangana HC stays sentence, grants bail
March 2024: Telangana HC stays conviction
Current Status: CBI yet to challenge HC stay


Sovan Chatterjee Sovan Chatterjee

Sovan Chatterjee: Crackdown after jumping ship

Party Shift: TMC; joined BJP in 2018, quits in 2021
The Case: Former Kolkata Mayor and longtime TMC leader and MLA Sovan Chatterjee is a key accused in the Narada sting operation case and has been questioned by central agencies in the Saradha chit fund case too. After being denied a ticket from his traditional Behala Purba seat in 2021, Chatterjee resigned from BJP in March that year. In May 2021, the CBI arrested him in the Narada case. He is now out on bail.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

April 2017: CBI registers FIR in Narada sting case
November 2018: Resigns as Kolkata mayor
August 2019: Joins BJP
March 2021: Denied ticket for polls, quits BJP
May 2021: CBI arrests him
Current Status: Chargesheeted, case up for trial


Chhagan Bhujbal Chhagan Bhujbal

Chhagan Bhujbal: Can travel abroad now, says ED

Party Shift: NCP, joined BJP-led NDA in 2023
The Case: Now Maharashtra minister, Bhujbal was booked by Maharashtra’s Anti-Corruption Bureau in 2015 in a case of alleged irregularities in award of contracts worth over Rs 100 crore in 2006 when he was PWD minister. Based on the FIR, ED registered a case of money laundering and arrested Bhujbal in March 2016. In May 2018, Bhujbal secured bail – and permission to travel abroad, which was challenged by ED at the time. Bhujbal went on to travel abroad even as ED’s plea remained pending for four years. With the court pointing this out, the ED withdrew its plea.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

March 2016: ED arrests Bhujbal in corruption case
April 2016: ED files chargesheet
May 2018: Gets bail after two-year jail
September 2021: Gets discharge in special court
July 2023: Joins NDA with Ajit Pawar
November 2023: Special court says case moving at “snails’s pace”
December 2023: ED withdraws petition challenging court permission for foreign travel
Current Status: Trial still on


Kripashankar Singh Kripashankar Singh

Kripashankar Singh: Sons questioned

Party Shift: Congress, joined BJP in 2021
The Case: In 2012, then Mumbai Congress chief Krispashankar Singh was booked by police in a case of disproportionate assets. Based on the FIR, the ED began a money laundering probe, and questioned his sons.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

February 2012: Maharashtra police books Singh in assets case, ED case follows
December 2013: Police seek sanction to prosecute from Assembly Speaker
April 2015: Chargesheet, alleging Singh amassed assets of Rs 95 crore of which Rs 18 crore worth were disproportionate, filed without sanction
February 2018: Discharged by court for lack of sanction
September 2019: Resigns from Congress
July 2021: Joins BJP
Current Status: ED case rendered infructuous


Digambar Kamat Digambar Kamat

Digambar Kamat: Water woes of a different kind

Party Shift: Congress, joined BJP in 2022
The Case: The former Goa Chief Minister has been facing an ED probe in the Louis Berger scam since 2015. The ED attached properties worth close to Rs 2 crore belonging to Kamat and NCP leader Churchill Alemao. In September 2022, Kamat led a group of eight Congress MLAs to the BJP.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

August 2015: ED searches house in Louis Berger case
March 2017: ED attaches assets
July 2021: Court frames charges
April 2022: SC upholds Bombay HC order setting aside ED attachment
September 2022: Kamat joins BJP
Current Status: Trial is on



Ashok Chavan Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan

Ashok Chavan: From housing scam to home in BJP

Party Shift: Congress, joined BJP in 2024
The Case: Former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan is among the key accused in the case related to allotment of flats in Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society, Mumbai. The CBI accused him of allegedly approving a raised floor space index in return for two flats for relatives. The ED initiated a money laundering probe on the CBI FIR, and questioned him.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

December 2011: CBI books Chavan in Adarsh Housing case
July 2012: CBI chargesheets Chavan
Jan 2018: SC stays proceedings
February 2024: Joins BJP
Current Status: Stay on trial


Naveen Jindal Naveen Jindal

Naveen Jindal: All about coal

Party Shift: Congress, joined BJP in 2024
The Case: Haryana industrialist Naveen Jindal was chargesheeted by CBI in two separate coal block allocation cases in 2016 and 2017. The ED, which carried out a money laundering probe against him, also filed a chargesheet in the case. Charges have been framed in one of the cases. The ED raided the premises of Jindal Steel and Power and Navin Jindal in connection with a fresh case of alleged forex violation in April 2022.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

June 2013: CBI names Jindal in coal blocks FIR
2016/2017: Chargesheeted
April 2022: Faces ED raids in fresh case
March 2024: Joins BJP
Current Status: ED probe on


Tapas Roy Tapas Roy

Tapas Roy: From case to candidate

Party Shift: TMC, joined BJP in 2024
The Case: The money laundering case is related to alleged irregularities in civic body recruitments. Roy is now the BJP candidate from Kolkata Uttar.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

January 2024: ED raids residence
March 2024: Joins BJP
Current Status: Probe on


Archana Patil Archana Patil

Archana Patil: New party, no case

Party Shift: Congress, joined BJP in 2024
The Case: In April 2017, the I-T department raided premises of the N V Group where her husband, former Union minister and Congress leader Shivraj Patil’s son Shailesh Patil, is a director. Shailesh is Congress state secretary in Maharashtra. In February this year, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) observed that nothing incriminating was found during the raid and so the I-T department could not make fresh tax demands. On March 30, Archana joined the BJP and is expected to contest from Latur.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

April 2017: Husband’s company raided by I-T
March 2024: Joins BJP
Current Status: I-T Tribunal says no case


Geeta Koda Geeta Koda

Geeta Koda: Switch follows husband’s cases

Party Shift: Congress, joined BJP in 2024
The Case: Former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda is under probe by central agencies with disproportionate assets and coal blocks allocation cases being key. Probes in other cases against Koda are at various stages.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

September 2012: CBI books husband Madhu Koda in coal blocks case
December 2014: CBI chargesheets Koda
December 2017: Koda is sentenced
January 2018: He gets stay on sentence
February 2024: Geeta switches from Congress to BJP
Current Status: Probe still on in other cases


Baba Siddique Baba Siddique

Baba Siddiqui: Slum project brought ED to door

Party Shift: Congress, joined NCP and BJP-led NDA in 2024
The Case: In May 2017, ED conducted searches at premises associated with Mumbai Congress leader Baba Siddique in connection with a case of irregularities in a slum redevelopment project in the city. In 2018, ED also attached assets worth over Rs 450 crore of a developer involved in the case.

Chronology of Flip-Flop

May 2017: ED searches premises
February 2024: Joins Ajit Pawar’s NCP
Current Status: Probe on



Jyoti Mirdha Jyoti Mirdha

Jyoti Mirdha: Kin face more action

Party Shift: Congress, joined BJP in 2023
The Case: The ED is probing Indiabulls in multiple cases including the Yes Bank case, one related to alleged artificial inflation of share prices and a complaint by Shipra group of usurping its properties. Indiabulls promoter Sameer Gehlaut is the brother of Mirdha’s husband Narendra Gehlaut.


March 2020: ED summons kin and Indiabulls promoter Sameer Gehlot in Yes Bank case
April 2021: ED books Indiabulls in another case of alleged inflated share prices
February 2022: ED raids Indiabulls premises
September 2022: Delhi HC quashes ED’s share prices case
October 2022: ED moves SC against HC order, does not get relief
April 2023: ED books Indiabulls in fresh case
September 2023: Jyoti Mirdha joins BJP
February 2024: ED raids Indiabulls
Current Status: Probe on


YS 'Sujana' Chowdary YS ‘Sujana’ Chowdary

Sujana Chowdary: Chargesheet still in place

Party Shift: TDP, joined BJP in 2019
The Case: The former Union minister and ex-MP is being probed in three FIRs. These FIRs allege that Best and Crompton Engineering Projects Ltd (BCEPL) — which agencies claim belong to Chowdary — fraudulently obtained loans worth over Rs 360 crore from a consortium of banks and defaulted.


April 2016: ED books firm allegedly linked to him
October 2018: ED raids Chowdary
April 2019: ED attaches Rs 315 crore worth assets
June 2019: Joins BJP, but chargesheeted
Current Status: Case committed to trial


by contribution Indian Express daring


Kajal Agarwal



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