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'I Was Raided Because I Questioned Modi Govt on Pulwama Tragedy': Satya Pal Malik

The former governor spoke to The Wire from hospital, where he was when the CBI raided his residence.
Former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi: In the run-up to the crucial 2024 parliamentary elections, the country is witnessing a barrage of raids by the central agencies – aimed particularly at those who have questioned the Narendra Modi dispensation.

On February 22, the South Delhi residence of former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik was raided too. Malik has been a vocal critic of the Modi regime on various counts.

As per news reports, about 100 personnel from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) went to Malik’s house in Som Vihar, and 29 other premises, on February 22 in connection with the Kiru Hydropower project over River Chenab in Kashmir.

In October 2021, Malik had spoken about corruption in the multi-crore project, and had claimed that while being the governor of the union territory, he was also offered a bribe of Rs 300 crore to clear two files of which one was on this project. He had served in that post between August 23, 2018 and October 30, 2019.

Taking to X after yesterday’s raid, Malik termed Modi a “dictator”, stated that “the dictator is trying to scare me by misusing government agencies. I am a farmer’s son; I won’t be scared and bow down.”

In April 2023, in an explosive interview to The Wire, Malik had also accused Modi of asking him to keep quiet about the Union home minister’s denial of aircraft to ferry the CRPF personnel in Pulwama in 2019. A terror attack had claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel and injured several.

He had then argued that “such a big convoy never goes by road” and the tragedy could have been avoided had the ministry headed by top BJP leader Rajnath Singh agreed to provide the aircraft.

“I told it to the prime minister in the evening (of February 14, 2019) that this has happened due to our fault. Had we given the aircraft, this wouldn’t have happened. To which he told me that I should keep quiet now,” Malik had told The Wire, adding that NSA Ajit Doval had also said this to him.

An outspoken Malik later called for a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the attack.

The February 22 CBI raid was carried out when Malik was admitted in a Delhi hospital. A day later, in an interview to The Wire from his hospital bed, he said, “I was raided because I support the farmers’ cause; have questioned corruption; and the mishandling that had led to the 2019 Pulwama tragedy where so many of our CRPF personnel lost lives.”

Excerpts from the interview:

Where were you when the CBI raid was conducted in your house in Delhi?

I have been at the hospital for the last five days due to a severe chest infection. I am diabetic; the blood sugar levels had also gone up quite a bit and therefore, I had to be hospitalised. The CBI personnel came to my Som Vihar flat; I said what will they find except my clothes there? They also raided my driver and the assistant and harassed them.

I fail to understand why I was raided; there is no FIR against me. Instead of probing those whom I said had tried to bribe me to clear a file on the multi-crore project, CBI is raiding the complainant. This means I was raided for raising a voice against corruption.

You also said on X that you are a farmers’ son and you would not be scared by it.

Yes, I have not done any wrong; so why should I be scared? I support the farmer’s cause. I am a farmers’ son.

I was raided also because I had questioned the Modi government about the Pulwama tragedy; the prime minister had told me to keep quiet about it. That I went public angered those in power.

The farmers’ Dilli Chalo rally has been stopped at the Punjab-Haryana border. You call yourself a farmer’s son; one farmer’s son has also lost his life in the ongoing protest, allegedly in police action. Do you want to comment on it?

During the earlier Kisan Andolan, the farmers were accused (by the ruling party) of being Khalistani, terrorist, anti-national. Finally, the Modi government had to take back the anti-farmer laws.

Now too, everything possible is being done to show them in bad light. The young farmer’s death is tragic; should not have happened.

The Modi government, like before, will have to eventually agree to the farmers’ demands. I was raided also because I spoke for the kisan and the dehat (hinterland).

Barriers have been put at both the Delhi-Haryana and Delhi-Uttar Pradesh borders by Delhi Police too to ensure that the protesting farmers can’t enter the National Capital to raise their voice at the Ram Lila Maidan.

Yes, the arrangements look as if these are India-Pakistan and India-China borders. I would say, had such care been taken in Pulwama in February 2019 by the government, so many of our army men would not have been lost.

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