‘Washing Machine’ — a New Synonym of BJP: Meet Opposition Leaders Who Joined Saffron Party, Fearing Central Agencies’ Action

According to accusations, the BJP acts as a “washing machine” that accepts any Opposition leader who is being investigated for a crime and then ceases the inquiry by federal agencies.
‘Washing Machine’ — a New Synonym of BJP: Meet Opposition Leaders Who Joined Saffron Party, Fearing Central Agencies’ Action

New Delhi: “Washing machine has become the new synonym of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It cleans all spots of alleged corruption when Opposition leaders — under scanner of central investigation agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) — if they switch sides.”

Opposition leaders defecting to their respective political parties and joining the saffron brigade or its allies have made the saying increasingly well-known in recent years.

The Mooknayak has put together a state-wise list of politicians who have joined the BJP in the past several months after the probing agencies leveled charges against them. 

This in fact is not the complete list. Many leaders from the Opposition camp would soon be knocking the door of their nearest BJP office.

Andhra Pradesh

Y.S. Chowdary and C.M. Ramesh — two of the four Rajya Sabha members of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), who joined the BJP in June 2021 — are industrialists and had been on the radar of the Income Tax department, the CBI and the ED.

BJP MP and spokesperson G.V.L. Narasimha Rao had referred to the duo as “Andhra Mallyas” months before they joined the saffron party. Additionally, Rao had written to the Rajya Sabha Ethics Committee, requesting that “appropriate action” be taken against them.

The BJP has recently started cozying up to Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, and Chandrababu Naidu, the former chief minister, both of whom are accused of corruption. 

While the ED and the CBI are in charge of Reddy’s cases, Naidu was taken into custody by the state police last year. Without the unspoken backing of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is said that Reddy would not have pursued Naidu.


Goa and Assam’s water management projects are at the center of the infamous Louis Berger case. In the bribery case, Goa’s former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and former Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao were named as defendants. The CBI handled the case initially, and then the ED entered the picture. The FIR claims that 14 shell companies bribed the two in lakhs of rupees from Louis Berger — a consultancy based in New Jersey. 

In 2021, the investigation against Kamat and others picked steam — having begun at some point in 2015. Kamat joined the BJP in September 2022, as did the other Congress MLAs.


A prominent member of the Congress party and a former Maharashtra Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan joined the BJP. Although he could not provide an explanation, it is noteworthy that the 65-year-old Nanded MLA has been facing a CBI investigation for more than 15 years.

He and his relatives are charged with being the main beneficiaries of the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society, a 31-story structure that was initially constructed for the widows of dead soldiers and Kargil war heroes in 1999. Chavan is one of the accused in the ED’s investigation into the case.

In 2018, the Supreme Court issued an injunction to halt the proceedings. The CBI case is still under trial. In the meanwhile, the ED has not made any arrests or submitted a chargesheet.

A prominent OBC figure in Maharashtra and a senior NCP politician, Chhagan Bhujbal decided to defect and join the Ajit Pawar-led NCP. 

Investigations into the purported anomalies in the 2006 state PWD minister Bhujbal’s contract granting of over Rs 100 crore for three projects have been ongoing. He was also charged by the ED in another case, involving alleged money laundering, and the central agency took him into custody in 2016.

Bhujbal accompanied Ajit Pawar, although he has been vocal about his dissatisfaction without having the guts to leave the party.

A seasoned Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, Ajit Pawar startled the party when he abruptly decided to sever relations with his uncle, Sharad Pawar, the party’s founder. 

Ajit has been dealing with instances that have been brought by numerous state and federal entities. These disputes, which include the state irrigation project and a cooperative bank, have dragged for almost 10 years. But the course of action has always depended on whose party is in power.

For example, Pawar was first charged by the state’s EOW for permitting irregularities in loans provided by the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank. In light of this EOW probe, the ED also brought a money laundering case against him. 

The EOW case stalled and the agency informed the court that no evidence was found against him when MahaVikas Aghadi took over in 2019. A closure report was submitted to a special court. Still, the ED inquiry goes on.

Ajit was accused of permitting irregularities in the irrigation projects while serving as the head of the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation and the minister of water resources in the Congress-NCP administration. 

The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) started a court-monitored probe into the matter based on public interest litigations (PILs). Once more, the case was put on hold. However, in 2019, a day after he and Devendra Fadnavis formed the government, the ACB surprised everyone by presenting a report to the Bombay High Court that gave him the clean chit. The court has not yet accepted the report, though.

As part of an alleged money laundering investigation, the ED searched Hasan Mushrif’s Mumbai and Kolhapur offices as well as his residence in March 2023.

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya had claimed that Mushrif embezzled money from the Appasaheb Nalwade Gadhinlaj Taluka Cooperative Sugar Mill, the Sar Senapati Santaji Ghorpade Sugar Mill, and the Kolhapur District Central Cooperative Bank, of which Mushrif is the chairman.

Although Musrif had to petition the court for temporary reprieve, it appeared like his arrest was imminent. He left the NCP in July 2023 after Ajit Pawar decided to do so and form a coalition with the BJP. 

There have been no updates on any follow-up inquiries or raids at his home since then. But the matter is still pending in the court.

The ED charged Bhavana Gawali, an MP from Yavatmal-Washim constituency, in 2020 — with alleged misappropriation of Rs 7 crore from the Mahila Utkarsha Pratisthan, a public trust that she chaired.

Saeed Khan, her close aide, was detained by the ED a few months later. Gawali received repeated summons by the ED — asking the MP, belonging to the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena, to join the investigation in late 2021 and early 2022. 

In the meantime, five people were named in a chargesheet filed by the federal agency. There was a reference to Gawali's public trust in the case.

Gawali joined the Shiv Sena group led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in July 2022. She was promptly named the main whip of the party in the Lok Sabha. 

What happened to the ED? Since then, nothing new has happened. Gawali has not been called in for further questioning, nor has the ED submitted a follow-up chargesheet.

In June 2021, Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik wrote to his leader Uddhav Thackeray — requesting that he mend his differences with the BJP. 

The MLA — representing Ovala-Majiwada constituency in the state Assembly — wrote in the letter, “...this will save the party from the harassment by central investigation agencies”.

Sarnaik and his family at that time were being probed by the ED in connection with the Rs 5,600 crore National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) fraud. In addition to questioning him, the ED also seized 112 plots owned by his firm.

Sarnaik was among the first people to abandon the Thackeray camp when Shinde made the decision to side with the BJP in June 2022. 

It’s interesting to note that the state’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) first took up the matter and submitted a closure report during Thackeray’s tenure as chief minister. 

However, the case was reopened and investigated by the ED. The ED, allegedly, slowed down its probe once Sarnaik joined the Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena.

In an alleged Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations case, Yamini Jadhav, a well-known Sena MLA, is charged by the ED along with her husband, Yashwant Jadhav, the former chairman of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Standing Committee. 

The couple’s 41 properties were attached by the IT department in April 2022, and the ED called the husband-wife duo for questioning.

After Jadhav joined the Shinde camp, their life has been tranquil. The Opposition benches yelled “ED, ED” in July 2022 when Jadhav registered her head count for the Speaker’s election in the Assembly as a Shinde camp MLA, alluding to the reasons behind her and numerous other party members’ choice to leave the Thackeray faction.

The ED raided Baba Siddiqui’s property in 2017 as part of a money laundering investigation, involving a land purchase connected to a slum restoration initiative.

The three-term Member of Parliament from Bandra in Mumbai is accused of abusing his authority as chairman of the Mumbai board of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) from 2000 to 2004 and permitting anomalies in the redevelopment of a slum there. 

The ED said that Siddiqui was a direct beneficiary. 

The ED has held down action against Siddiqui while the matter is still pending. He left the Congress earlier this month in order to become a member of Ajit Pawar’s NCP.

West Bengal

The ED called Suvendu Adhikari for questioning multiple times in 2017 when he was a member of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in relation to the Narada sting operation case. 

A news outlet’s sting operation revealed that a number of lawmakers and a senior police officer had taken cash bribes in return for doing unofficial favors for a business.

Adhikari joined the BJP in 2020 and is currently the Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly. He defeated Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to win the Nandigram seat in the 2021 Assembly elections.

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