Congress MP Rahul Gandhi today slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over what he claimed was pressure tactics to silence him and other opposition voices using central agencies.
Mr Gandhi was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case in June for nearly 50 hours over five days. His mother and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was also questioned by the central agency over alleged money laundering connected to the National Herald newspaper.
“If you are talking about National Herald, the entire matter is about intimidation. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah think that with a little pressure we will go silent. But we won’t. Whatever Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are doing against democracy, we will stand our ground,” Mr Gandhi told reporters today as Congress MPs get ready to meet to discuss their strategy after the Enforcement Directorate sealed the office of Young Indian in Delhi over the case linked to National Herald.
On a question by reporters about a threat by the BJP that he would be left with “no place to run,” Mr Gandhi shot back, “Who is talking about running? They are the one who talk of running. We won’t be intimidated. We are not scared of Narendra Modi, do whatever you want, it doesn’t matter. I will keep doing my job, that is to protect democracy, to maintain harmony in the country.”
In June and July, Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi were apparently asked hundreds of questions by the Enforcement Directorate on their involvement with National Herald newspaper and Young Indian Pvt Ltd.
The National Herald case involves Young Indian’s takeover of Associated Journals Ltd, or AJL, the company that runs National Herald newspaper, and the dealings thereafter. In a complaint in the Delhi High Court, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had accused Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to misappropriate funds.
The BJP had also hit back at massive protests by Congress workers and leaders while Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were being questioned. The BJP had said the Congress was not protesting to save democracy, but to save Rahul Gandhi’s properties worth Rs 2,000 crore.
“Congress leaders have taken to the streets to put pressure an investigating agency openly because their corruption has been exposed,” Union Minister Smriti Irani said on June 13, when Rahul Gandhi was being questioned. “But no one is above the law, not even Rahul Gandhi,” she had said.
Ms Irani alleged the ownership of the company was transferred to one family so that it doesn’t publish newspapers but become a real estate business instead.
She had asked if those who had donated to the Congress so that it could participate in democratic activities had intended their money to go to a company owned by the Gandhi family.