Ghotala & Gundagardi: CM Ashok Gehlot’s Son, Gets ED Summons in Foreign Exchange Violation Case

On 27 October, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Foreign Exchange Management Act case. CM Gehlot took to the social media platform X (Formerly Twitter) to share the news. Vaibhav Gehlot said he would cooperate with the ED and appear whenever asked”. He also raised suspicions about the timings of these raids and said it was the central government’s conspiracy targeting his father ahead of the Rajasthan assembly elections.

An Item from BJP’s Pandora Box: The FEMA Case

In 2015, two Jaipur residents lodged a complaint against Vaibhav Gehlot, accusing him of channeling illegal funds transactions from a suspected shell company in Mauritius called ‘Shivnar Holdings.’ The funds were reportedly redirected to Mumbai’s Triton Hotels in 2011 by purchasing 2,500 shares at a significantly inflated price of Rs 39,900 each, while their original value was only Rs 100 per share. It was also reported that Shivnar Holdings was specifically created in 2006 with the purpose of laundering illicit funds and providing Triton Hotels with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) at an inflated premium, resulting in a direct violation of FEMA regulations. The investigation also found Triton Group’s involvement in cross-border hawala transactions. This initiated a series of raids by the Enforcement Directorate at various locations in Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai, and Delhi. The director of Triton Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd, Ratan Kant Sharma, was known to be associated with Vaibhav Gehlot through a joint venture in the car rental service sector.

Suspicious ‘Timing, Objective and Intent of these Raids: 

After the ED raided the Rajasthan Congress Chief Govind Singh Dastara’s residence regarding the Paper Leak Case 2022, Chhattisgarh Deputy CM TS Singh Deo said that ED should not be misused and emphasized that the probe agency is being impartial by not paying to the ‘Operation Lotus’ being carried out by BJP. The leaders of Congress have alleged that the BJP used their last move because they felt that the political atmosphere in Rajasthan favours Congress, and the BJP’s loss is imminent. The raids are happening around the time when the Rajasthan state elections are approaching, which prompted the sharp response.

Operation Lotus: BJP’s Cheat Code

Operation Lotus came to light in the Indian state of Karnataka in 2008 when the BJP, led by former minister G. Janardhana Reddy, successfully persuaded several members of the opposing parties, notably the INC and the Janta Dal, to defect and join the BJP. During this time, the BJP, which had emerged as the single-largest party but failed to secure a majority in the state assembly elections, devised the infamous’ Operation Lotus’ to win Karnataka. In this operation, the main targets were the members of the opposition, mainly primarily from the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Indian National Congress. This operation enabled the BJP to form a government with a majority and defeat others in the race to make a government in the state. In fresh developments from Karnataka, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his second in command, D K Shivakumar, made some crucial allegations stating that the Óperation Lotus’ is active again and is working to topple the state government.

Andrew s

Andrew has been in the online publishing industry. After receiving his degree in professional journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, he contributed to multiple websites as a freelance writer and feature editor. Mostly, Andrew tackles controversies and theories that lead to a specific conclusion that either debunk or justify a particular claim. Further, Andrew participates in social developments that aim to simplify every individual's way of life and fight for peace. He is the new Editor-in-Chief of Pressroom Today.

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