Congress leader Rahul Gandhi appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday for the third consecutive day of questioning in the National Herald money laundering case. Gandhi (51) arrived at the ED headquarters on APJ Abdul Kalam Road in central Delhi around 11.35 am with his "Z+" category CRPF security escort. He was accompanied by his sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. He had left this office at 11:30 pm on Tuesday night after being questioned for over 11 hours. Rahul Gandhi's mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who is currently admitted to a hospital here due to Covid-related issues, has also been summoned by the agency for questioning in the case on June 23. The Congress has accused the Centre of targeting opposition leaders by misusing investigative agencies and has termed the entire action a political vendetta. Congress leaders and workers staged protests outside the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office and the party headquarters here and were detained by police. 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.
The Congress MP from Wayanad has spent around 21 hours at the ED's office over the last two days where he was questioned over multiple sessions and his statement recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Officials said Gandhi's questioning could not be completed on Tuesday, and hence, he was asked to continue the recording of his statement on Wednesday.
About 15-16 questions about the incorporation of the Young Indian company, the operations of the National Herald newspaper, the loan given by the Congress to the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and the funds transfer within the news media establishment have been put to Gandhi during the questioning held till now, sources indicated. The probe 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 Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and owned by Young Indian Private Limited. A strong posse of the police force, supported by paramilitary personnel, stopped the Congress workers and whisked them away. Among those detained are a number of women and youth workers of the party, including IYC chief B V Srinivas and Delhi Congress chief Anil Chaudhary. The MP, however, alleged that they are not allowed to stage a protest. He said the police were acting as BJP agents.
The Congress Lok Sabha leader said they entered the AICC office and beat up Congress workers. He claimed that the police would have caused a havoc had the media not been there."Our workers are being beaten up mercilessly," Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said, cautioning the BJP. The police have put up barricades around the AICC office here and workers were prevented from entering the party office. Congress leaders claimed this was the first time in the country that party workers were not allowed to enter the AICC office.
(With PTI Inputs)