Money Laundering case: ED calls Rahul Gandhi for fourth time on June 17; Congress alleges 'hooliganism' by Delhi cops
His statement was recorded in multiple sessions under the PMLA and after Wednesday's round of questioning, he has clocked close to 30 hours with the ED investigators.
Published: 15th June 2022 09:39 PM | Last Updated: 15th June 2022 09:49 PM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for about eight hours on Wednesday, the third day of his appearance in the National Herald money laundering case.
Gandhi (51) left the Enforcement Directorate (ED) headquarters on APJ Abdul Kalam Road in central Delhi around 9:30 PM.
His statement was recorded in multiple sessions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and after Wednesday's round of questioning, he has clocked close to 30 hours with the ED investigators.
He has been called by the agency for the 4th day on June 17 as he sought an exemption for Thursday.
The grand old party has called the agency's action vendetta politics of the Centre against opposition leaders as the party's supporters continued protests on roads leading to the ED office.
The probe pertains to alleged financial irregularities involving Young Indian Private Limited, promoted by the Congress, that owns National Herald.
The newspaper is published by Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and owned by Young Indian.
Meanwhile, the Congress alleged that Delhi Police personnel forcibly entered its headquarters and beat up party workers and leaders on Wednesday, on a day the party staged vociferous protests against the questioning of Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate for the third consecutive day.
Several senior leaders of the party, including Sachin Pilot and B V Srinivas, were detained during the day.
Congress leaders shared purported video clips on social media showing police personnel entering its office premises on Akbar Road and beating up party functionaries.
The Delhi Police, however, rejected the allegations as "totally false".
"We had tried to stop them and tried to close the gate of AICC (All India Congress Committee) office in order to prevent a procession from being taken out. In this process, their might be some scrimmage, but police had not tried to enter the premises of the AICC and they had no reason to enter," a senior police officer said.
The police made elaborate arrangements around the AICC headquarters and cordoned off the area in view of prohibitory orders against the assembly of people.
A heavy deployment of security forces was also in place around the ED office in central Delhi.
As Rahul Gandhi appeared before the federal agency for questioning in a money laundering case, Congress workers and leaders continued their protest against what it called the use of the probe agency by the ruling dispensation for political vendetta.
Congress MPs Manickam Tagore, Thirunavakkarasuar, A Chella Kumar, Amar Singh and Jayakumar Vijay Vasanth protested in the Parliament Complex and raised slogans against the government.
Several leaders, including MPs Jothimani and D K Suresh, former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, Youth Congress chief B V Srinivas and Delhi Congress chief Anil Chaudhary, were detained by the police from outside the AICC office.
"In an act of absolute goondaism perpetuated by the Delhi Police at the instance of the Modi government, the police today forcibly entered the national headquarters of the Congress here and beat up party workers and leaders. This is patently criminal trespass. The goondaism of Delhi Police and Modi government has reached its zenith," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters.
The party demanded that an FIR for "criminal trespass" be registered, the erring police personnel be suspended and disciplinary action initiated against them.
Surjewala said the party's state units would stage silent protests Wednesday evening and would gherao Raj Bhawans across the country Thursday morning against the police action.
"We are protesting peacefully in a Gandhian way but such kind of behaviour and goondaism are unacceptable and will not be tolerated," Surjewala said.
"Let all the police officers who are acting as puppets of Modi government in order to please their masters know that this will not go unpunished. We will remember and suitable action, both civil and criminal, will be taken," he said.
AICC general secretary K C Venugopal shared a video of the police entering the party headquarters.
"As they burst the doors open to the AICC HQ, they trampled upon the democracy our forefathers fought and gave their lives for. BJP has truly killed Indian democracy. It doesn't get darker than this," he said.
Congress leaders claimed this was the first time in the country that party workers were not allowed to enter the AICC office.
Former union minister P Chidambaram also said the police action at the AICC office was an "outrageous violation of liberty" and every legal and political norm in a democracy was "violated".
"What the police did at the AICC office this morning was an outrageous violation of liberty," he said.
The police had no search warrant or arrest warrant, yet they entered the office, pulled out Congress leaders and members, including MPs, and threw them on the road, he alleged.
"The roughing up of Mr Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and others has been captured on video," Chidambaram said.
"Every legal norm and political norm in a democracy was violated. We condemn the action of the police in the strongest terms," he said.
Pilot, who was picked by the police and taken away, said the "police brutality" will not yield results as the party is steadfast in its resolve to expose attempts to intimidate the opposition.
The former Rajasthan deputy chief minister said he was entering the AICC headquarters along with some leaders when they were "shoved into a bus" and taken to the Narela police station.
Several Youth Congress and Mahila Congress workers protesting outside the Congress office on Akbar Road were roughed up by the police and forcibly taken away, a party worker said.
Delhi Pradesh Congress workers also staged a protest outside the heavily barricaded ED office against party leader Rahul Gandhi's questioning by the probe agency in the National Herald money laundering case.
The case pertains to alleged financial irregularities in the Congress-promoted Young Indian Private Limited, which owns the National Herald newspaper.
The newspaper is published by the AJL and owned by Young Indian Private Limited.
(With PTI Inputs)