Enforcement Directorate calls Rahul Gandhi for questioning again today

Thousands of Congress workers carried out protest marches in national capital as well as state capitals. Several senior Congress leaders were hurt in Delhi due to manhandling by police

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi before heading to ED office on Monday
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi before heading to ED office on Monday

NH Web Desk

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday, was asked to appear before it again on Tuesday in connection with a money laundering probe linked to the National Herald newspaper, officials said.

They said the questioning on Monday continued well past 9 pm. Rahul Gandhi, who entered the headquarters of the federal agency in central Delhi around 11.10 am, was put to questioning about 20 minutes later after he finished some brief legal proceedings and marked his attendance.

He was allowed by the ED to leave for lunch around 2:10 pm and he returned for the questioning around 3:30 pm, officials said.

The Congress has alleged that the questioning is part of the ruling BJP's "vendetta politics".

Thousands of Congress workers carried out protest marches in the national capital as well as state capitals against the ED action on the former Congress president.

Tempers rose as the day progressed with scenes of slogan shouting, Congress workers jumping barricades and resisting attempts by police to detain them.

Slogans such as "down down BJP", and "we want justice" rang out in cities such as Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Guwahati, Jammu, Dehradun and Jaipur.

The party said it was starting Mahatma Gandhi's 'Satyagraha', peaceful resistance, again with the march against the Modi government and vowed not to bow down.

A host of Congress leaders spoke out on the alleged harassment. Rajasthan Chief Minister Gehlot alleged that the government was misusing central probe agencies and this was nothing but "political vendetta".

Asked whether the Congress would stage a similar show of strength on June 23 when Sonia Gandhi has been asked to appear before ED, Gehlot said, "The Congress is competent to deal with the situation".

"This is a fight for democracy. The government is trying to muzzle the voices of opposition leaders," said former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat. "Now, a satyagraha will take place at every corner,” he added.

Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Congress leaders had done nothing wrong and alleged that "Godse's descendants fear from the truth and they will not be able to suppress the truth".

He said that in Delhi, the police made a "murderous attack" on its leader K C Venugopal and others during their protest march taken out in solidarity with Rahul Gandhi, with P Chidambaram and Pramod Tiwari sustaining hairline fractures in their ribs.

Speaking through a video message, Surjewala said that some other Congress leaders also sustained injuries as Delhi Police beat them up and detained thousands of its workers since last night.

"Atrocities of Delhi Police and Modi government have not stopped. They have made a murderous attack on AICC general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal and have mercilessly beaten up Delhi in-charge and Rajya Sabha MP Shaktisinh Gohil with lathis. See the atrocities of Delhi Police that former Home Minister and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram was also roughed up and his rib was broken and his spectacles were found broken on the road outside AICC office. Does the Modi government not know how to treat a former Home minister of the country?" Surjewala said.

The Congress leader also alleged that another Rajya Sabha MP, Pramod Tiwari, was thrown on the road and his rib was fractured. Both Chidambaram and Tiwari have sustained hair-line fractures, he claimed.

"When three big, burly policemen crash into you, you are lucky to get away with a suspected hairline crack! Doctors have said that if there is a hairline crack, it will heal by itself in about 10 days. I am fine and I will go about my work tomorrow," Chidambaram also tweeted.

Surjewala alleged that the Modi government has crossed every limit of barbarism. "Is this a democracy?" he said.

"The entire day has passed, the attack continues... A deadly attack was launched on Congress Organisation General Secretary KC Venugopal by targeting him... Democracy has been trampled. The country will not forgive the Modi government," Surjewala said in a tweet in Hindi.

The Congress leader asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi how much more atrocities he was going to commit.

Surjewala, who too was detained by the police, said the party will not bow down to such tactics and will continue to work on path of democracy.

"You can beat them and commit atrocities on them, but the Modi government has reminded everyone of the British regime. The Congress fought with the British and will now fight against you till democracy wins," he said.

Videos and pictures of Venugopal being dragged by Delhi police and later sitting in a police station in a haggard state emerged on social media during the day.

AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also met Venugopal later at the Tughlaq road Police Station, where Harish Rawat, former Uttarakhand chief minister, was also present.

Congress leaders and workers staged protests through the day at several places across the country in protest against ED’s move to question Rahul Gandhi.

In Jaipur, a march led by Rajasthan Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra was held from the party's state headquarters to the ED office near Ambedkar Circle. Dotasra alleged that the Narendra Modi-led Union government was resorting to such tactics to divert the attention of people from issues of unemployment and inflation.

"There is anger among people of the entire country and the countdown for the Modi government has started," he said.

In a statement, Dotasra said, "For the past eight years, Prime Minister Modi is ruling the country in a dictatorial manner and it is the misfortune of the country's politics that the fascist forces are deciding the policy at the Centre."

He said the Centre is not giving account of the promises it made to people in the 2014 general election. Instead of fulfilling the promises made to the public, the BJP hurt the self-respect of farmers and filed false cases against opposition leaders, he said.

State ministers Pratap Singh Khachariawas, Ramesh Meena, BD Kalla, Ramlal Jat and Shakuntla Rawat, MLAs and other party leaders participated in the march.

Thousands of Congress workers held a ‘Satyagraha march’ in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Chandigarh on Monday in support of Rahul Gandhi.

Holding tricolours, banners and placards, they organised protest marches, staged dharnas and shouted anti-government slogans before ED offices in Shimla, Jalandhar and Chandigarh.

In Punjab, the protest was led by state Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring outside the ED office at Jalandhar, while Mohinder Singh Luck, newly appointed president of Chandigarh Congress, led the agitation in Chandigarh. MP and Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Pratibha Singh led the protests at Shimla.

Haryana Congress leaders and workers led by Haryana Congress chief Udai Bhan staged a protest march from the party office located in Sector 9, Chandigarh, but were detained by the police after their tried to break the barriers on roads leading to the ED office.

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the Enforcement Directorate questioning Rahul Gandhi in a money laundering probe is political vendetta by the BJP-led central government. Speaking to reporters here, Hooda said the Congress stands firmly with Gandhi and has full faith in the judiciary.

"The government's action against Rahul Gandhi is driven by political vendetta," said Hooda, who is the Leader of Opposition in Haryana. "We have full faith in the judiciary and the entire Congress party stands firmly with Rahul Gandhi," he added.

In Ranchi, Jharkhand Congress staged a dharna at the party headquarters in the Kotwali police station area, where prohibitory orders are in force, to protest against the ED for summoning Rahul Gandhi.

In Itanagar, the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) staged a 'satyagraha march' to protest the alleged misuse of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Speaking to reporters, APCC president Nabam Tuki termed the allegation against Rahul Gandhi as fake and baseless', while accusing the BJP of misusing the powers of the federal agency to destroy an individual's political career and the image of the grand old party.

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    Published: 13 Jun 2022, 10:55 PM