Congress Top Ranks Follow Rahul Gandhi to ED Questioning, Many Detained Across States
Image Courtesy: Tribune India
New Delhi: Chaotic scenes marred the tree-lined avenues of Lutyen’s Delhi on Monday as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning in a money laundering case, with the police heavily barricading several roads and detaining top party leadership for violating prohibitory orders.
Gandhi, 51, arrived at the probe agency in central Delhi around 11 am after he started from the Congress office on Akbar Road accompanied by a large convoy of party leaders including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
The Congress march made it through two points of barricading but was stopped at the third where Delhi Police had deployed heavy force. After Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra proceeded forward, many Congress leaders started a sit-in. Priyanka Gandhi dropped her brother at the ED office and then left.
Soon Section 144 of the CrPC was imposed in central Delhi, and a large number of Congress activists were detained, including CM Baghek. "I have been arrested....you should ask the Delhi Police why I have been arrested," he told reporters outside the ED office, and added that “This is a dictatorship. Several Congress workers have been detained because they wanted to carry out a peaceful march. I am also being detained. This is unprecedented that Congress workers were not allowed to enter the Congress headquarters. If there is no FIR and how can ED summon him?”
Many prominent Congress leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge, Randeep Surjewala, Harish Rawat, Pawan Khera, and others decried attempts by Delhi police to suppress the march and claimed that ‘satyagrahas’ would take place in every nook and corner of the country.
Among those who were detained by the Delhi police are: former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijay Singh, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, former Rajasthan deputy CM Sachin Pilot and Congress general secretary KC Venugopal. Later senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Harish Rawat were also detained by the police.
Rahul Gandhi is likely to be questioned about the incorporation of the Young Indian company, operations of the National Herald and the funds' transfer within the news media establishment.
Meanwhile, Pradesh Congress Committees across the country staged demonstrations. In Ahmedabad, senior Congress leaders, including Gujarat unit president Jagdish Thakor, gathered at the GMDC ground and shouted slogans against the BJP-led Central government. They had planned to carry out a march towards the ED's office in Ahmedabad, but heavy police security was deployed to prevent them from carrying going there.
In Chennai, led by TNCC president KS Alagiri, party workers gathered in front of 'Shastri Bhavan,' which houses several Central government offices including the Enforcement Directorate and raised slogans. In Bengaluru, a protest march was planned from Lalbagh to the ED office at Shantinagar in the city. However, they were stopped mid-way by the police, who had erected barricades on the path. Some protesters climbed on the barricades amidst sloganeering "Down Down BJP", and "We Want Justice."
In Maharashtra's Nagpur city, Congress leaders and workers staged a huge demonstration in front of the ED's office in the Seminary Hills area to express their solidarity with Rahul Gandhi.
Similarly, protests were also held in Srinagar and Jammu cities near the party headquarters. The party workers staged protests in both the summer capital and winter capital led by party leaders Taj Mohiuddin and Ghulam Ahmad Mir respectively.
“We have gathered here to express solidarity with our leader who has been vocal against the government’s excesses and oppression. They (BJP) want to silence those who question them whether it's the opposition leaders or the people. Our protest is also in solidarity with those whose homes are being bulldozed by this government,” a party leader Amir Rasool told NewsClick.
(With inputs from PTI)
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