ED Seals Young Indian Office at Herald House, Cong Slams Police 'Gherao' at HQ
Additional police force has been deployed outside interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi's residence.
The sealing in Central Delhi's Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg has been ordered amid a money laundering probe against Congress mouthpiece National Herald. Sonia Gandhi had been questioned by the ED in the case last week.
Soon after the action, Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Salman Khurshid, Digvijaya Singh, P Chidambaram, and others held a "strategic meeting" at the Congress headquarters.
"The Delhi Police has gheraoed the Congress headquarters, Sonia Gandhi's residence and Rahul Gandhi's house," Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said at a press conference after the meet.
"Congress is under siege. This is the worst form of vendetta politics. We will not submit! We will not be silenced! We will continue to raise our voice against injustices and failures of Modi Sarkar," Ramesh stated.
The party also called for a meeting of all its Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs at the Congress Parliamentary Party office at 9:45 am on Thursday to discuss the party's future strategy, news agency ANI reported.
The Congress will also issue adjournment notices in Parliament over the ED's actions.
Additional police force has been deployed outside interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi's residence and the party headquarters in Delhi.
"Delhi Police blocking the road to AICC Headquarters has become a norm rather than an exception! Why have they just done so is mysterious," Jairam Ramesh, Congress General Secretary in-charge of Communications, said in a tweet.
"Today's action to convert Congress headquarters and 10 Janpath into a police camp is an undeclared emergency. The office of the National Herald (Young India) was forcibly sealed. If the general public does not stand with the Congressmen against this dictatorial government of NDA, then the whole country will have to bear the brunt of it," Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted.
The notice pasted under signature of the ED investigating officer outside the Young Indian office space said it cannot be opened "without prior permission" from the agency.
The temporary seal has been put in order to "preserve the evidence," which could not be collected as authorised representatives were not present during the raids on Tuesday, news agency PTI reported, citing sources.
The rest of the National Herald building, which also houses the Passport Seva Kendra, is open for use.
"There are a few false media reports that the National Herald office has been sealed. We are functioning as usual. This is a broadcast request to media to correct the erroneous reports," National Herald clarified.
Earlier, reports had suggested that the newspaper's office had been sealed.
The sealing comes a day after the agency conducted raids at several locations linked to the newspaper in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Lucknow.
The National Herald newspaper is published by Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) and its holding company is Young Indian. National Herald is registered in the name of AJL.
What Is the National Herald Case?
The ED wanted to record the statements of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The summons to the Gandhis came after the probe agency questioned Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal in relation to the case.
The questioning of the senior Congress leaders and the Gandhis is part of the ED's investigation to understand the shareholding pattern, financial transactions, and role of promoters of Young Indian and AJL, officials had said.
The agency registered a fresh case under the criminal provisions of the PMLA after a trial court in Delhi took cognisance of an Income Tax Department probe against Young Indian Pvt Ltd on the basis of a private criminal complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.
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