Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said that a bill related to the protection of journalists will be introduced in the current budget session of the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly. He made this announcement on Thursday while replying to the discussion on the demands for grants for his departments under the annual budget for the financial year 2022-23.
He hit out at the BJP-led central government over raids by the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax on the premises of government officials and leaders of the ruling Congress party, saying the action was not intended to investigate but to defame his government.
Baghel holds the portfolios of General Administration, Finance, Energy, Mineral Resources, Public Relations, Electronics and Information Technology and Aviation. Baghel said that the Journalist Protection Act (Bill) would be brought in the current budget session.
He also informed about the steps taken by his government in the interest of media persons. Hitting out at the Center over the ED and IT raids, Baghel said those who have done anything wrong should be in jail, but the probe (by central probe agencies) should be done and the report should come out. Raids are being done one by one, but no report is being submitted.
He said the action will continue till the Lok Sabha elections next year as you (Centre) are not interested in the investigation but are interested in defaming you.
Expressed concern over raids in Chhattisgarh
Baghel said whenever he and his party leaders travel from Chhattisgarh to other states for campaigning, raids take place in Chhattisgarh. Recently, raids were conducted when the Congress General Convention was held in Raipur.
The chief minister said he had written to the Union home minister and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking a probe into the alleged chit fund scams during the previous Raman Singh-led BJP government in the state, but no action was taken.
Baghel accused the Center of trying to capture and suppress all the institutions of the country. After discussion, the demands for grants related to the departments of the Chief Minister were approved in the Vidhansabha.
The ED is probing the coal levy money laundering case in Chhattisgarh and has so far arrested nine people, including an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and a State Administrative Service officer, in the state in this connection.