Congress members of Parliament on Thursday called on the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman to protest against Delhi Police personnel treating them like “terrorists” even as former party chief Rahul Gandhi wrote to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking postponement of his Friday questioning to next week.
While the State units of the Congress took out protest marches to Raj Bhavans in every State, a delegation of senior leaders is likely to call on the President on Friday to highlight the Delhi Police’s ‘high-handed’ behaviour.
Earlier in the day, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge led the delegation to Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu while Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury led one to Speaker Om Birla.
They alleged that their privileges as members of Parliament have been breached and demanded lawful action against the Delhi Police and handed over a pen drive containing videos of the alleged harassment by police personnel.
Names two officials
Lok Sabha member S. Jothimani formally wrote to the Speaker, naming two officials for violating her privilege of being an MP by “brutally assaulting her and tearing her clothes” by using excessive force.
Since June 13, Congress leaders and MPs have been staging demonstrations against the ED for questioning Mr. Gandhi in an alleged money laundering case linked to the National Herald case.
“The manner in which the police have treated us, looks as if we are all terrorists,” Mr. Chowdhury told reporters, adding, “The Modi and Amit Shah government is turning this Amrit kaal into a poison kaal? Have there never been agitations and we are only trying to put across our side peacefully in a Gandhian way”.
Mr. Kharge said they had told the Chairman that MPs were taken to police stations as the Delhi Police wanted “to harass and mentally torture the MPs and violate their privileges”.
“We wanted the chairman to take note of this and take action. We want this be treated as a privilege notice and it is the right of the Chairman to defend us for violation of our rights and ask them how MPs were detained. The Chairman said he will examine this and get details of the incidents,” the Rajya Sabha LoP said.
Stating that action against the MPs were a violation of their liberty, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said, “Let the matter be sent to the privileges committee and the law take its course”.
Leaders also commented on reports in a section of the media that Mr. Gandhi had put the onus of all financial dealing regarding National Herald on the late Motilal Vohra during his questioning.
“The ED cannot leak its version of the investigation,” said Mr. Chidambaram, adding, “The fact that the ED has leaked selected parts of the investigation according to their understanding clearly establishes bias and prejudice”.
Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha also served a “cease and desist” notice to Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, asking them to stop using the ED as a tool to “settle political scores and spread false narratives”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gandhi wrote to the ED to postpone his questioning citing ill-health of his mother Sonia Gandhi, who is undergoing treatment for post-COVID issues at Sir Gangaram hospital. However, until the filing of this report, it is not yet known if the ED has accepted his request.