Cong flags NL-TNM investigation in letter to Sitharaman, demands white paper

Party leader Jairam Ramesh asked if the BJP will accept a Supreme Court-monitored probe.

WrittenBy:NL Team
Article image

Support Independent Media

The media must be free and fair, uninfluenced by corporate or state interests. That's why you, the public, need to pay to keep news free.


The Congress has written to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to seek a probe into the BJP’s finances based on the investigation published by Newslaundry and The News Minute

The investigative series had explored political funding across India, especially the BJP’s financial rise and a pattern to the money flow where several corporate donors had also faced action by central agencies during a certain period. Read it here.

On Friday, the Congress’s media in-charge and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh held a press conference at the AICC headquarters, where he demanded a white paper from the BJP over its finances and raised three questions while referring to the NL-TNM investigation.

“This is the politics of blackmail. The way CBI, ED and Income Tax are being misused…the same agencies are being misused against our private companies to collect money from them, to extort. Our organisation general secretary KC Venugopal has written a letter to the finance minister...and this information has also been published by several digital news sites. And all this information has been gathered from the Election Commission,” said Ramesh.

“There are about 30 companies. Their names are also on the EC website…and through them, the BJP has got Rs 335 crore in donation. Not Rs 1 crore, not Rs 10 crore, but Rs 335 crore. And this is declared by the BJP.”

Pointing to three questions, the Congress leader said the government must act if any law has been violated but to take money from the same companies “clearly points to the primary objective”.

“Since you claim that your party financing is transparent and there is nothing to hide, will you dismiss this information that has been published by these news sites? Will you dismiss that a company which is facing investigation by agencies has not donated to your party?...If you haven’t done anything wrong, will you accept a Supreme Court-monitored probe?”

Meanwhile, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal wrote a letter to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman calling for an investigation.

“You may be aware that a scathing investigative report in the online publications – Newslaundry and The News Minute has exposed the alleged quid-pro-quo between BJP and several firms,” said the letter. It added that in a “strange coincidence”, several companies donated to the BJP after being raided by the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax department, and the CBI, among others.

Noting that the report is “authenticated by several Election Commission documents” and “robust evidence”, the letter said it “chronicles instances wherein the IT, ED, CBI and other agencies either arrested, searched or seized assets of certain companies, and later they seemed to be coerced to donate to the BJP”.

The letter further emphasised six findings of the investigation undertaken by Newslaundry and The News Minute. It underlined that “at least 30 companies, which donated nearly Rs 335 crore to the BJP between FY2019 and FY2023, also faced action by central agencies during that period”. Of these, the letter noted, 23 companies had never donated to the BJP between 2014 and the year of the raid. 

“At least four of these companies donated a total of Rs 9.05 crore within four months of the central agency visit,” said the letter, adding that six firms, “which were already donors to the BJP, handed out a heftier amount in the months following the searches”. 

The letter also highlighted the investigative report’s findings that six firms, which had donated to the BJP each year before, “faced central action after they skipped donations in one financial year”, and at least three BJP donors, beyond the 30 firms, have been accused of receiving undue favours from the Modi government.

Calling these “a clear-cut case of legal extortion in the form of donation…by exerting pressure”, the letter said these instances look like the “tip of the iceberg” and warrant an investigation.

Venugopal further asked for an “open debate” on whether Sitharaman would come up with a “white paper” on BJP’s finances, provide a point-by-point rebuttal on the chronology of events, or present herself for a Supreme Court-monitored investigation into the “dubious deals”.

If you’re reading this story, you’re not seeing a single advertisement. That’s because Newslaundry powers ad-free journalism that’s truly in public interest. Support our work and subscribe today.        


Power NL-TNM Election Fund

General elections are around the corner, and Newslaundry and The News Minute have ambitious plans together to focus on the issues that really matter to the voter. From political funding to battleground states, media coverage to 10 years of Modi, choose a project you would like to support and power our journalism.

Ground reportage is central to public interest journalism. Only readers like you can make it possible. Will you?

Support now

You may also like