Congress leaders sit on a dharna outside the AICC office against summoning of party leader Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the National Herald case, in New Delhi, Wednesday, June 15, 2022. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)
Hyderabad/New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) quizzed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for the third consecutive day on Wednesday in the National Herald case. After being questioned for nine hours, with a gap in between, he was called for questioning on Friday. He sought leave for Thursday which the ED granted.
Sources said Rahul Gandh’s statement was recorded under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The Congress leader checks the transcript of his statement minutely before submission, they said.
In Hyderabad, the Congress decided to hold a series of agitations against the ED’s alleged harassment of Rahul Gandhi. The party state unit said it condemned the highhandedness of police in New Delhi on Congress activists at the AICC office. To protest against "the political vendetta of the BJP," the Congress will conduct a protest rally 'Chalo Raj Bhavan' from Khairatabad PJR statue to the Governor's official residence on Thursday.
District Congress committees will conduct protests in front of Central government offices. The Congress continued its protest for the third consecutive day against the questioning of Rahul Gandhi. The protest was staged at the Gandhi Bhavan.
TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah were harassing AICC president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. The Congress would take up agitation programmes from village streets to Delhi, he said.
In Delhi, the Congress stuck to its stand of accusing the Centre of political vendetta and calling the ED the ‘Election Department’ of the Centre. The questioning of Rahul Gandhi pertains to alleged financial irregularities in Young Indian Private Limited, promoted by the Congress, that owns the newspaper ’National Herald’. The newspaper is published by Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and is owned by Young Indian.
The Young Indian Private Limited is a Section 25 company which means that no money can be taken out to benefit its shareholders. The ED is looking into the manner in which Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi were made directors in the new company Young Indian and whether there are any irregularities.
The Congress asked, "Which is the 'scheduled offence' under PMLA that has triggered an investigation by ED? Which police agency has registered an FIR in respect of the scheduled offence? Where is the FIR?"
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has also been summoned for questioning she is expected to depose before the probe agency on June 23. The Congress president was admitted to the hospital on Sunday due to Covid-related issues and is said to be stable now. Earlier, Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal were also questioned by the ED.
The day saw hectic police activity outside the Congress headquarters at Akbar Road. The Congress slammed the Centre after police and security forces allegedly entered its party headquarters and picked up party workers. Congress MP Karti hidambaram shared a video on Twitter where cops could be seen barging into the party office and carrying away a man, presumably a party worker, as a group of them raise slogans, question the police, and record the incident on their phones.
Senior leaders K.C. Venugopal, Bhupesh Baghel and Randeep Surjewala accused the Delhi police of forcefully entering the Congress headquarters.
Several Congress workers were detained from outside the party headquarters and the ED office today as well, where they held demonstrations and chanted slogans in support of Rahul Gandhi. Videos showed some of the Youth Congress and Mahila Congress workers being dragged and taken away in buses.
Among others, senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot was detained from outside the Congress headquarters. He was taken to Narela police station. He said, "The police and government have made up their minds that no Opposition leader can be allowed to do anything. Using police to lathi charge workers inside our offices is unprecedented".