ED Summons Sonia Tomorrow; Rahul, Other MPs Released After Hours of Detention

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is under the scanner of ED in the National Herald case.

5 min read

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was released by the Delhi Police after he, along with other MPs, was detained for several hours at Vijay Chowk, where the party was staging a protest.

This came in the background of interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi appearing before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office on Tuesday, 26 July, for the second round of questioning in the National Herald case.

The central agency finished Gandhi's questioning after over 6 hours on Tuesday, and asked her to reappear for the third round of questioning on Wednesday.

'Gandhi, Others Detained to Maintain Law & Order': Police

Delhi Police, in a statement, said that the protesting Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi 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.

The statement further alleged that a motorcycle was set on fire near the Claridges Hotel in the city.

"Appropriate legal action is being taken into the matter," it said.

'India is a Police State Now': Rahul, Others Detained

"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?" Rahul Gandhi told the media earlier while being detained.

"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 Gandhi stages a protest at Delhi's Vijay Chowk against the questioning of Sonia Gandhi by the ED.

    (Photo: Congress)

Rahul also took to Twitter to allege misuse of police force and said: "Look at the dictatorship, cannot stage peaceful protests, cannot hold discussions on inflation and unemployment. You will not be able to silence us by misusing the police force and arresting us. Truth will be the end of dictatorship."
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is under the scanner of ED in the National Herald case.

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.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is under the scanner of ED in the National Herald case.

Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders detained at the Kingsway camp by the Delhi Police.

(Photo: Congress)

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra too took to Twitter to slam the BJP. "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.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is under the scanner of ED in the National Herald case.

Sonia Gandhi's Questioning

Sonia Gandhi was accompanied to the ED office by her daughter Priyanka Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi. The former stayed back at the agency in another room to help her septuagenarian mother in case of a health emergency.

The Delhi Police has deployed a huge force, including CRPF and RAF personnel, and has barricaded the entire one kilometre stretch between Gandhi's residence and the ED office. Traffic restrictions have also been imposed in view of the demonstrations.

  • Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi en route to ED office with daughter and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi.

    (Photo: PTI)

Sonia Gandhi was 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.

Youth Congress Chief Manhandled

A clip of Indian Youth Congress (IYC) chief Srinivas BY being manhandled by the police and the security forces went viral on social media, with several demanding strict action against the officers involved.

In the 40-second clip, the officers can be seen pulling Srinivas' hair and trying to push him inside the police vehicle as he tries to speak to the media.

Speaking to The Quint, DCP New Delhi, said that action will be taken against the concerned officers.

"Trying to identify the staff. Disciplinary action would be initiated against the staff after identifying," he said.


Protests in Several States

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.

  • Congress workers stage protests in Goa.

    (Photo: Congress)


'We Were Protesting Peacefully': Congress Leaders Cry Foul

Several senior leaders and Congress workers have been staging protests since Tuesday morning at the party headquarters in central Delhi over the ED summons issued to the party chief.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Delhi Congress leader Ajay Maken said that the police denied permission for peaceful protests.

"We had sought permission for a day's protest but the police denied it. We wanted to do a peaceful satyagraha at Gandhiji's samadhi at Rajghat. The BJP leaders used to dance at his samadhi, but we wanted to hold a protest. The Centre is doing politics to pressurise us," he said.

"Today, the Congress is conducting a satyagraha across the nation against this attack on democracy. We will also raise our voice in Parliament. We are all for peaceful protests, but in order for that, it is the duty of the police to also ensure and cooperate," Maken had said at a press conference on Tuesday morning.

Earlier, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also took to Twitter to slam the Centre after being detained.

"All Congress MPs stopped at Vijay Chowk and prevented from marching to Rashtrapati Bhavan. Forcibly arrested. Now we are in police buses being taken to a place only PM and HM know where…" Ramesh said.

"Josh hai... Jazba hai and the intention to fight against the BJP's oppression. The Congress headquarters, which forced the British rule to kneel, is still ready for satyagraha against the BJP dictatorship," the Congress said on Twitter ahead of the interrogation.


BJP Slams Congress' 'Dacoity'

BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra on Tuesday claimed that the Congress thinks it is entitled to indulge in "dacoity" and no one should question it.

“Zero tolerance against corruption has been the BJP's motto. The way Congress party has been doing a drama of satyagrah against Sonia Gandhi's appearance before the ED in National Herald case today, the whole country is watching it," he said.

Similar protests were held when Rahul Gandhi was quizzed by the ED in the same case in June. Rahul Gandhi had appeared before the investigation agency for five rounds of questioning.

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