ED quizzes Sonia Gandhi again, Congress protests

Ms. Gandhi summoned again on July 27; Rahul Gandhi terms India a police state; Congress MPs take out march

July 26, 2022 11:47 am | Updated July 27, 2022 07:44 am IST - New Delhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra leave the Enforcement Directorate office in New Delhi on July 26, 2022.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra leave the Enforcement Directorate office in New Delhi on July 26, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for a second time in the money laundering case linked to National Herald. The party’s MPs, including Rahul Gandhi, staged a dharna near Parliament after they were prevented from marching down to the Rashtrapati Bhavan in protest against the “misuse” of investigative agencies.

“India has become a police state and [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] Modi is king,” he said. Similar protests by party leaders and workers were held across the country.

Explained | What is the National Herald case and why has the ED summoned Sonia and Rahul Gandhi?

Ms. Gandhi, who was questioned for almost six hours and left the agency’s headquarters just before 7 p.m., has been summoned again on Wednesday.

As soon as Ms. Gandhi, accompanied by her children Mr. Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, reached ED headquarters, Congress MPs assembled in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue inside Parliament complex and took out a symbolic march, carrying a poster that read “Stop misuse of agencies”.

Mr. Gandhi joined them as the Congress leaders widened their protests to include price rise and GST. When prevented from marching on to Rashtrapati Bhavan, he sat on the road in an impromptu dharna at Vijay Chowk.

Police detain Congress MP Rahul Gandhi during a protest march from Parliament to Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on July 26, 2022.

Police detain Congress MP Rahul Gandhi during a protest march from Parliament to Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on July 26, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

“Look at the dictatorship, cannot hold peaceful demonstrations, cannot discuss inflation and unemployment. By misusing the police and agencies, even by arresting us, you will never be able to silence us. Only ‘Truth’ will end this dictatorship,” he tweeted, sharing pictures of police personnel physically taking him away.

“The country’s ‘King’ has ordered — whosoever asks questions on unemployment, inflation, wrong GST, Agneepath — put them in jail. Even though I am in custody now, even though it may be considered a crime to raise the voice of the people in the country now, they will never be able to break our spirits,” he added.

MPs Mr. Kharge, K C Venugopal and Jairam Ramesh, Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Manickam Tagore, among others, were all detained and taken to the Kingsway Camp police lines in north Delhi, the same place where Mr. Gandhi was detained.

Mr. Kharge alleged that they were manhandled by the police and claimed that this was being done at the insistence of the Prime Minister, and Home Minister Amit Shah. “This is a conspiracy by the Modi-Shah duo,” he said as he was being taken away by police.

A video of Delhi Police personnel manhandling Indian Youth Congress president Srinivas B.V., who was being pulled by his hair, also went viral on social media platforms.

Opposition leaders, including Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, AAP’s Sanjay Singh, and CPI(M)’s Elamaram Kareen, sent out a joint letter to President Droupadi Murmu on the “continued and intensifying misuse of investigative agencies by the Modi Government as part of a systematic vendetta campaign against its political opponents”.

In the letter, the Opposition leaders also raised the issue of the “stubborn attitude” of the government in not allowing an urgent discussion in the Parliament on the issue of price rise and GST hike.

National Herald case |How proceedings dragged on since beginning of trial

Taking to Twitter, Congress general secretary Ms. Vadra said, “The dictatorial government wants to suppress the opposition through police and agencies. This is a fight for truth, will neither bow down nor be afraid. Will fight, win”.

Earlier, in the day, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Ajay Maken had claimed that the police had denied permission to organise a satyagraha outside Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.

Mr. Ramesh tweeted, “Congress MPs were released after a seven hour detention at around 6:45pm to the news that Smt. Sonia Gandhi has been summoned by the ED for a 3rd day tomorrow. This is Vishguru’s political vendetta with a vengeance. Atrocious is the mildest word to describe it!”

National Herald case

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