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No Fresh ED Summons For Sonia Yet; Congress Leaders Released After Detention

Several Congress MPs were detained by the Delhi police as they carried out a march on Wednesday.

The Quint
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Sonia Gandhi appears before the ED for questioning on Tuesday, 26 July.</p></div>

Sonia Gandhi appears before the ED for questioning on Tuesday, 26 July.

(Photo: PTI)


Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, 27 July, left the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office after Day 3 of her questioning in the National Herald case concluded.

As of now, no fresh summons have been issued to the leader, say officials.

Gandhi had earlier arrived at the ED office accompanied by her daughter and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi.

News agency ANI quoted sources saying that Sonia Gandhi's questioning in the case has now concluded.

Meanwhile, several Congress MPs, including Jairam Ramesh and Manish Tewari, were detained by the Delhi police as they carried out a march from the Parliament to Vijay Chowk. All the leaders have now been released, news agency ANI reported.

Speaking to the media after being detained, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said: "Congress MPs have been detained today as well. This is a murder of democracy. Discussions on inflation and GST are not being allowed in the Parliament. We demand a discussion in the Parliament. The central agencies are being misused. We are raising our voices against this blatant demonstrations of revenge (by the government)."

"We have been arrested today because we were protesting against inflation and trying to meet the President. We were detained the moment we left the Parliament house (during the march)," said Tewari in a video message posted on Twitter.

Congress workers were also briefly stopped a train in Mumbai's Borivali and were detained by the police later.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma Speak Out Amid Differences With Gandhis

Ahead of Sonia Gandhi's appearance, senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Ashok Gehlot, and Jairam Ramesh addressed the media on Wednesday.

Azad and Sharma had not addressed a press conference at the Congress headquarters since they asserted their opposition to the party's central leadership along with 21 other Congress leaders, dubbed as G-23 as a group, in 2020.

They have also not been a part of any of the protests staged by the Congress, including the protests during Rahul Gandhi's questioning by the ED.

"I have been ill for a few days, was even admitted to the hospital. Due to this, I was not able to participate in the protests," Azad stated at the briefing.

Both leaders on Tuesday condemned the ED interrogation of Sonia Gandhi.

"They (Gandhis) are one family only, with one name. If you have questioned Rahul Gandhi for over 50 hours for 5 days, what is the need to question Sonia ji? Rahul Gandhi is young, but Sonia Gandhi is not and she has been ailing for the past few years. Even young people cannot withstand the pressure of agencies," Azad said.

"Sonia Gandhi is from a political family, has political knowledge. Why are they questioning Sonia Gandhi about technical things?" he added.

Anand Sharma criticised the "disturbing trend" of draconian weaponisation of laws.

"The issue is not about summoning or questioning. What is important for everyone to understand is that India, being a rule-governed country and a constitutional democracy, while implementing the laws must also respect fundamental rights," he said.

'Hiding Truth in the Garb of Satyagraha': BJP

Commenting on the protests by the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief JP Nadda said that party was trying to hide the truth in the garb of satyagraha.

"They are protesting to protect a family, not the country. Gandhis are required to answer the investigation agencies, but they think they are above the law," he said, as quoted by news agency ANI.

In the backdrop of the Supreme Court upholding ED's powers of arrest and attachment of properties in an order pronounced on Wednesday,

"The Supreme Court has upheld the PMLA and jurisdiction of ED. The law is taking its course and the Congress party's attempt to keep one family above the law will not work," he added.


'India a Police State Now': Chaos on Tuesday

Sonia Gandhi was questioned for more than six hours on Tuesday amid the protests.

The Delhi Police, in a statement, said that the protesting Congress leaders had been warned of prohibitory orders issued under section 144 in the area. They were also repeatedly requested to disperse from there, the police said.

When they did not pay heed to the warnings, 259 people, including 57 MPs, were "detained under Section 65 of the Delhi Police Act in order to maintain law and order in the area," the police added.

According to Section 65, all people are bound to comply with the "reasonable directions" given by a police officer during the discharge of his duties.

While being detained on Tuesday, Rahul said that the country had become a police state.

"India is a police state now, that's the truth. PM Modi is a king, and this is a police state. What will happen if MPs cannot meet the President?" he asserted.

"All (Congress) MPs came here. They talked about inflation, unemployment. They are not allowing us to sit here. Discussions are not allowed inside the Parliament and here they are arresting us," he further said.

Leaders and party workers, including Rahul Gandhi, wanted to March from the Parliament to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet President Droupadi Murmu over several issues but were stopped at Vijay Chowk before being detained.

Rahul was taken to Kingsway Camp where at least 50 other Congress MPs, including Deepender Hooda, Mallikarjun Kharge, KC Venugopal, and Manickam Tagore, were detained by the police.

Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders detained at Kingsway Camp.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Congress)

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra too took to Twitter to slam the Bharatiya Janata Party. "The dictatorship of the BJP is out in the open. Cannot discuss important matters in the house and cannot raise people's voices on the streets. The dictatorial government wants to suppress the Opposition's voice by using the police and central agencies," she said.

Meanwhile, Congress workers staged protests in several states across the country, including Maharashtra, Bihar, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, Goa, and Kerala.

Several workers also reportedly stopped a train in Kerala's Kannur, according to news agency ANI.

Sonia Gandhi was first interrogated by the ED in the money laundering case for about two hours on 21 July, where she reportedly responded to 28 questions put forth by the agency.

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Published: 27 Jul 2022,08:31 AM IST