National Herald case: Did Sonia Gandhi request ED to end questioning? here's what Congress has to say

The party has slammed the agency's action against its top leadership and called it a "political vendetta".

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, July 21, 2022, 06:06 PM IST
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Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi | File

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, who had been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the National Herald case, appeared before the agency earlier today.

However, the questioning ended after a couple of hours, since she requested the officials to end the questioning as she is recovering from Covid.

Due to her health issues, Sonia Gandhi was unable to join the probe earlier and had sought postponements earlier. As per the scheduled date, she has to appear before the ED on Thursday.

Baseless allegations say Congress:

The party has slammed the agency's action against its top leadership and called it a "political vendetta".

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that the ED officials had to let Sonia Gandhi go because they did not have anything to ask her. Ms Gandhi was up and ready for anything coming to her, but they didn't have anything.

The allegations that ED stopped investigation as Sonia Gandhi requested to leave because she is suffering from COVID-19 are baseless, he said.

"Sonia Gandhi said, she'll be present at the ED office whenever they want," added Jairam.

Sonia Gandhi in turn said she would be willing to respond to any other questions they might have and was ready to stay on till 8 pm or 9 pm if necessary, Ramesh posted on Twitter.

"People and their "sources" should stop spreading misinformation. Congress President Mrs Gandhi is 100x tougher than you," he said.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is also in Delhi, slammed the probe and said that since Sonia Gandhi is over 70 years old, ED should have gone to her residence if they wanted to question her.

"It is happening for the first time in the country that they are stopping dharna, demonstration," he said.

Party leader Sachin Pilot alleged misuse of agencies in the country. "It's our right to protest in a democracy, but it is also being crushed," he said.

Nation-wide Protests:

Congress leaders protested in different parts of the country over ED summons to the party's interim chief.

Seventy-five Congress MPs including Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and several workers were detained by the Delhi Police for demonstrations against the questioning of the party chief.

Senior Congress leaders including P Chidambaram, Ajay Maken, Manickam Tagore, KC Venugopal, Adhir Ranjan Chaudhry, Shashi Tharoor, Sachin Pilot, and Harish Rawat. Ashok Gehlot and K Suresh were among those detained.

Congress workers in Nagpur were also detained in the wake of the protest.

The protest by the Congress turned violent in Bengaluru as the Youth Congress workers allegedly set a car on fire, in front of the ED office.

Congress workers also stopped a train and blocked railway tracks at New Delhi's Shivaji Bridge railway station. Chandigarh Police also used water cannons to disperse Congress workers and leaders as they protested over the questioning.

All MPs and leaders of Congress who were detained at New Police Line, Kingsway Camp were later released.

What is the National Herald money laundering case?

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

Her son and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has been questioned by the agency in the case for over 50 hours in sessions spread across five days last month.

The move to question the Gandhis was initiated after the ED late last year registered a fresh case under the criminal provisions of the PMLA after a trial court here took cognisance of an Income tax department probe against Young Indian based on a private criminal complaint filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are among the promoters and majority shareholders of Young Indian. Like her son, the Congress president too has 38 per cent shareholding.

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