NEW DELHI: Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the first time in connection with an alleged money laundering case involving National Herald.
Congress, meanwhile, slammed the government for misusing the investigative agency and said that the ED should have questioned her at her residence instead of calling her to its headquarters.
Sonia Gandhi left her residence accompanied by her son and former party chief Rahul Gandhi and her daughter and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
As she left her residence, hundreds of Congress workers and leaders came in front of her vehicle to show solidarity.
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The Delhi Police, which had made adequate security arrangements soon detained several party MPs including former Union Ministers P Chidambaram, Ajay Maken, Congress MP Ranjeet Ranjan, and party leaders Pawan Khera, Supriya Shrinate and several others.
Earlier in the day, addressing a press conference at party headquarters, Kerala accused the BJP of misusing the investigative agencies and slammed the government saying, “The alliance of Modi and Shah with agencies is very interesting. And whenever they are in need they use agencies.”
He said that they have the motto of an opposition-free country.
Slamming the government, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that the ED should have questioned Sonia Gandhi at her residence instead of calling her at its headquarters.
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He said, “ED called Rahul Gandhi last time and questioned him for 54 hours. Today ED has called Sonia Gandhi. The world knows that Sonia Gandhi is an idol of renunciation. She turned down the post of Prime Minister and made Manmohan Singh the Prime Minister.”
He further said that Sonia Gandhi, who has seen the martyrdom of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, today such a woman is being harassed.
“The government should be ashamed. She is being called for questioning at this age. But if there was anything to ask, then according to age and health, you could go home and ask,” he said.
Gehlot said, “I condemn Sonia Gandhi being called for questioning. It would have been better to go to his residence and take his statement.”
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While lashing out at the BJP, Gehlot said, “They (BJP) were first talking about ‘Congress mukt’ Bharat. Now they are aiming for ‘vipaksh mukt Bharat’.”
He also said that in BJP’s regime, the law is not equal for everyone.
He also said that Congress and its leaders and workers are not going to bow down to this move of the central government.
He said that we are not going to be afraid.
“Since Sonia Gandhi had come to the country, she is being attacked. The way Soniaji has adopted the culture and culture of India is an example in itself. Congress leaders and workers can never forget the life she has lived and what she has done for the party,” Gehlot added.
He also said that there should be no enemy in politics.
Taking a jibe at the BJP, the Chief Minister said, “These people consider the opposition as the enemy. Earlier they used to talk of Congress-mukt Bharat, now they want ‘Opposition-mukt Bharat’. Nothing can be worse than this. Governments are being brought down by misusing the investigating agency. I don’t know how these people would answer their conscience.”
Even Congress MPs staged a protest on Parliament premises over the ED summons to Sonia Gandhi.
Speaking to media on Parliament premises Chidambaram dubbed summons to Sonia Gandhi as part of vendetta politics and said, “Everything that ED wants to know is available in records of the case in Supreme Court.”
Even former Lok Sabha speaker and senior Congress leader Meira Kumar said, “Agencies should not pick and choose. They should not be impartial, and it is getting clear to us and to the country that they are impartial.”
The Congress MPs also raised slogans in the Rajya Sabha and showed placards.