- Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was grilled by ED for 10 hrs in National Herald case
- Hundreds of Congress workers in Delhi, state capitals participated in a Satyagraha march against ED
- 459 Cong workers, senior leaders, including Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Kharge were detained by Police
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in a money-laundering probe linked to the National Herald newspaper on Monday for ten hours. Party leaders and supporters held protests across the nation to show solidarity for the senior leader and accused the BJP-led Central government of targeting opposition leaders by misusing agencies.
What happened at the ED office
Rahul Gandhi appeared before the probe agency at 11.10 am on Monday accompanied by a battery of leaders including sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and escorted by armed CRPF personnel. He was given an 80-minute break in the afternoon and was at the ED office till past 10 pm.
Gandhi, 51, went from the party headquarters on Akbar Road to the ED office in central Delhi a few kilometres away in a convoy of seven cars after walking for some distance with his supporters. Gandhi, who entered the headquarters of the federal agency in central Delhi around 11.10 am, was put to questioning about 20 minutes later after he finished some brief legal proceedings and marked his attendance. He was allowed by the ED to leave for lunch around 2:10 pm and he returned for the questioning around 3:30 pm, officials said.
Hundreds of Congress workers in Delhi and state capitals took to the streets and several senior leaders, including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Randeep Surjewala and K C Venugopal, were detained in Delhi amid a massive show of strength by the party which had called for the Satyagraha march against the ED summons.
The principal opposition party alleged that the Delhi police made a "murderous attack" on its leader Venugopal and others, with former home minister P Chidambaram and Pramod Tiwari sustaining hairline rib fracture.
459 Cong workers, leaders detained
The Delhi Police on Monday detained 459 Congress workers and senior leaders, including Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, K C Venugopal and Mallikarjun Kharge, for not following police directions for the maintenance of law and order in the national capital, officials said.
Allegations of manhandling
The Congress on Monday alleged that the Delhi police made a "murderous attack" on its leader K C Venugopal and others during their protest march taken out in solidarity with Rahul Gandhi, with P Chidambaram and Pramod Tiwari sustaining hairline fractures in their ribs.
Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that some other Congress leaders also sustained injuries as Delhi police beat them up and detained thousands of its workers since last night.
"Atrocities of Delhi police and Modi government have not stopped. They have made a murderous attack on AICC general secretary Organisation K C Venugopal and have mercilessly beaten up Delhi in-charge and Rajya Sabha MP Shaktisinh Gohil with lathis.
“See the atrocities of Delhi police that former Home Minister and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram was also roughed up and his rib was broken and his spectacles were found broken on the road outside AICC office," Surjewala alleged in a video message. “Does the Modi government not know on how to treat a former Home minister of the country?” he asked.
The National Herald case
The probe is related to alleged financial irregularities in the party-promoted Young Indian that owns the National Herald newspaper, published by the Associated Journals Limited (AJL). Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are among the promoters and shareholders of Young Indian.
In April, the agency questioned senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal as part of the investigation. The questioning of the senior Congress leaders and the Gandhis is part of the investigation to understand the shareholding pattern, financial transactions and role of the promoters of Young Indian and AJL, officials had said.
The ED recently registered a fresh case under the criminal provisions of the PMLA after a trial court here took cognisance of an Income Tax Department probe against Young Indian Pvt Ltd on the basis of a private criminal complaint filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013. The Gandhis had secured separate bails from the court in 2015 after they furnished personal bonds of Rs 50,000 and one surety.