Congress party workers and leaders have organised a pan-India ‘dharna’, as part of a ‘Satya March’ in support of Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi, who is appearing before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) today, for a hearing in the National Herald money laundering case.
Congress party workers across India have staged multiple protests in support of the leader, holding placards displaying the words ‘Satyameva Jayate’. Places such as Ahmedabad, Assam, Bengaluru, Delhi, Jaipur, Jammu, Patna, and so on, saw Congress workers coming out in thousands, protesting the ED summons.
Section 144 has been imposed around the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Delhi, where the police had denied permission for protests, citing the “communal situation” across India. Nevertheless, countless Congress party members demonstrated on streets, in a padyatra from the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters to the ED office. This included AICC general secretary and Rahul Gandhi’s sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
“Congress workers have been detained from Akbar Road, Q Point, APJ Kalam Road, and Man Singh Road and taken to the Mandir Marg police station,” said a senior police official.
Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala has claimed that thousands of people have been arrested in Delhi since Sunday night. He commented, “‘Satya ka Sangram‘ (The revolution for truth) will continue under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. Even the British could not suppress the voice of the Congress during the freedom struggle, then how can this ruling government?”
Surjewala, and former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat are among those who have been detained by Delhi Police. Party workers in Delhi are now demonstrating a sit down protest on the road leading to the Vidhan Sabha. “Congress leaders will stay united. Police are being used for a different purpose, but we will continue to carry forward our work,” said Chhattisgarh Congress leader TS Singh Deo.
Reportedly, the deputy director and assistant director of the ED are leading Rahul Gandhi’s questioning in the National Herald money laundering case. They are trying to corroborate the evidence collected by the Income Tax department in a probe against Rahul Gandhi’s privately owned Young Indian Pvt Ltd. It investigated the shareholding pattern, financial transactions, and role of Young Indian’s promoters in the acquisition of National Herald publisher – Associated Journals Limited.
The ED had earlier closed the case in January 2015. However, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy raised doubts on agency director Rajan Katoch, leading to his removal, and reopening of the case later that year, in September. In 2019, the ED attached National Herald assets worth Rs 16.38 crores in Mumbai. It has recently also called senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal for questioning, as part of the investigation.
The charges against Rahul Gandhi and party president Sonia Gandhi include cheating and breach of trust in the takeover of Associated Journals, a Rs 2000 crore worth company that was reportedly acquired for Rs 50 lakhs, and financial irregularities within Young Indian.
Sonia Gandhi’s questioning has been pushed to June 23. According to the Congress, she is currently admitted to the Ganga Ram Hospital due to COVID related issues.