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Narendra Modi EXCLUSIVE! 'Even though I am Prime Minister, I have no right to obstruct the work of ED'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended the independence and efficacy of central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in combating corruption during an interview with Asianxt Digital Technologies Private Limited Executive Chairman Rajesh Kalra, Asianet News Executive Editor Sindhu Sooryakumar and Asianet Suvarna News Editor Ajit Hanamakkanavar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lashed out at leaders of Opposition parties who have been alleging that central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate are being misused to target the latter. In an exclusive interview with Asianxt Digital Technologies Private Limited Executive Chairman Rajesh Kalra, Asianet News Executive Editor Sindhu Sooryakumar and Asianet Suvarna News Editor Ajit Hanamakkanavar, the Prime Minister said that political leaders must refrain from obstructing the functioning of institutions established to uphold integrity and accountability.

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Drawing parallels to the role of a ticket checker in the railways, PM Modi emphasized the necessity for these agencies to execute their duties unhindered, regardless of political implications.

"I am surprised. Let us take the example of a ticket checker in the Railways. Now someone might say, 'Why does he check the tickets? Are we dishonest?' It is the responsibility of the ticket checker to check the tickets. Similarly, why were ED or CBI created? It is their responsibility. The government should not stop them for its political interests. There should be no obstacles in their work. They should be allowed to work independently. Just like a ticket checker is allowed to do his work, they should also be allowed," he said.

Highlighting the ED's pivotal role in combatting corruption, Modi revealed that a mere 3% of the cases pursued by the agency are linked to political figures. 

"Secondly, what work has the ED done? ED has lodged many types of cases against corruption, be it government officials or drug mafias. Of these, only 3 per cent are associated with politics; 97% are people who have been caught somewhere or the other for acts of dishonesty. Many officers have gone home, and many officers are in jail, but no one talks about it. If you have given birth to an institution to work against corruption in the country -- that too was given by the earlier governments, not by us -- if that doesn't work then questions should be asked. Questions are being asked when they are functioning. This is illogical," he said.

"There are only 3 per cent of people whom ED has reached till now, 97 per cent are others. Suppose there is a bridge. Due to corruption, the contract was given to someone, and he built the bridge just like that. That bridge collapsew within a few years. Tell me how terrible the loss will be. Similarly, an ordinary citizen passed his exams with great hard work. But he is unable to get a job because he cannot bribe someone or does not have a recommendation letter. Instead, some useless person gets the job. This sort of dissatisfaction will not last long in the country," he added.

Prime Minister Modi lamented the Opposition's disregard for the significant strides made by the ED, citing a substantial increase in cases and searches conducted since 2014 as evidence of its enhanced efficiency and activity.

"ED (PMLA under which ED operates) had registered less than 1800 cases before 2014. Now, they had to work even then, especially considering there were many allegations of corruption against the then government. In the last 10 years of our government after 2014, ED has filed more than 5000 cases. This shows its efficiency and its activity. Only 84 searches were conducted before 2014. Such a big department was sleeping. There have been 7000 searches since 2014. Before 2014, property worth about Rs 5000 crore was attached. After 2014, property worth Rs 1.25 lakh crore has been attached. This is the property of the country," he said.

Despite holding the highest office in the nation, PM Modi affirmed his unwavering dedication to ensuring the autonomy of agencies like the ED in their pursuit of justice.

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