ED questions Rahul Gandhi for fifth day in National Herald case, Congress continues protest

Congress protest
Police detain Congress workers during a protest against party leader Rahul Gandhi's interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald case, outside the AICC headquarters, in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the fifth day of questioning in the National Herald money laundering case.

Gandhi, 52, arrived at the ED headquarters on APJ Abdul Kalam Road in central Delhi at 11.15 am along with his security escort.

A strong contingent of police and paramilitary personnel was deployed around the federal agency's office even as Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has been imposed in the area.

The Congress MP from Wayanad has spent about 42 hours at the ED office over the last four sittings with the investigators, where he was questioned over multiple sessions and his statement recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

He was questioned for three consecutive days last week, and after Monday's questioning, he was asked to rejoin the session and complete the recording of his statement.

Gandhi left the agency office after midnight on Monday.

The probe pertains to alleged financial irregularities in the Congress-promoted Young Indian Private Limited, which owns the National Herald newspaper.

The ED is understood to be asking Gandhi about the incorporation of the Young Indian Private Limited, operations of the National Herald, the loan given by the party to the newspaper's publisher Associated Journals Limited (AJL), and the transfer of funds within the news media establishment.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has also been summoned by the agency for questioning in the case on June 23.

She was discharged from a private hospital on Monday where she was admitted for Covid-related issues and has now been advised rest.

The Congress has accused the Centre of targeting opposition leaders by misusing investigative agencies and has termed the entire action a political vendetta.

Congress continues protest

The Congress on Tuesday staged a Satyagraha at the party headquarters here alleging "misuse" of the Enforcement Directorate and "harassment" of party leader Rahul Gandhi.

The protesting leaders, including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, later announced a march to Jantar Mantar, but the police prevented them for lack of permission. Several Congress workers were detained.

The police said the Congress leaders were given permission to stage a protest at Jantar Mantar but they were not allowed to take out a march.

Baghel, along with supporters, sat on road outside the Congress office while Gehlot dubbed the BJP leaders "fascists" masquerading as believers of democracy to befool people.

"They (BJP leaders) are fascists and have worn the mask of democracy. They are trying to pit one community against the other and are breaking the social fabric," he said, exhorting party workers to continue with their Satyagraha against the government's "atrocities".

The police also put up barricades around the All India Congress Committee office, but the angry protesters broke some barriers.

The Congress workers also raised slogans against 'Agnipath', saying it was only a ploy to divert the attention from the government's failures and that the scheme would thrust the youth towards darkness.

The party leaders had on Monday met President Ram Nath Kovind and submitted a complaint alleging that the police were harassing the party MPs and probe agencies were being misused. 

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