Following a huge protest by the Congress on the streets of Delhi, party leader Rahul Gandhi reached the office of Enforcement Directorate today for questioning in the National Herald money laundering case.
Chaotic scenes were witnessed in the streets leading to the probe agency’s office as Mr Gandhi, accompanied by sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, headed towards it amid party workers’ slogans against the central government.
The Congress march made it through two points of barricading but was stopped at the third point where Delhi Police had deployed heavy force to halt the protest rally. At that point, Ms Gandhi Vadra turned back with the Congress leaders and Rahul Gandhi and his counsel proceeded for the questioning. The Congress leaders then sat on the streets and continued their protest.
The Gandhis first reached the Congress headquarters where top leaders gathered to start the protest.
The top Congress leaders who reached the party headquarters in Delhi today to join the protest include Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel, Digvijaya Singh, P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh, Sachin Pilot, Mukul Wasnik, Gaurav Gogoi and Rajeev Shukla.
Earlier, Congress workers were detained and put into buses as they raised slogans in support of their leaders.
Police had imposed prohibitory orders near the agency’s office after refusing permission for the protest march last night, citing “communal and law and order situation” and VVIP movements. The Congress leaders had urged them to reconsider the decision, but to no avail.
The party then decided to go ahead with the protest planned in Delhi and several other cities. Protests are also being held in Indore in Madhya Pradesh and Assam’s Guwahati, among other cities.
Addressing the media this morning, senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said the barricading of the whole of Delhi “proves that the government fears us”.
“No one can oppress us, neither could the English nor can these new oppressors. We will march till the ED’s office, we will choose Gandhi’s path, we will fight for the rights of the poor. The Congress is the voice of the common man for 136 years,” he said.
He also described the Narendra Modi government as “coward” and said the Congress is ready to make “sacrifices”.
The Congress has been accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah of using Enforcement Directorate and other central agencies to silence the voice of the Opposition.
The party has said the allegations against its leaders are “fake and baseless” and that accused the BJP of “vendetta politics”.
Sonia Gandhi too has been summoned by the central agency in this case. She sought more time after she tested Covid positive. The agency has now issued her a fresh summons for June 23. Last afternoon, the Congress chief had to be admitted to a hospital in Delhi due to Covid-related issues.