NEW DELHI: Congress leaders and workers continued their protests in several states on Thursday against Rahul Gandhi’s questioning by the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald money laundering case.
Several of them were taken into preventive custody, including Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar, CLP leader Siddaramaiah and former Union minister Renuka Chowdhury, who was even seen on camera grabbing the collar of a police official.
Here are the top developments …
Rahul’s questioning to continue on June 20
The ED will continue Rahul’s questioning on Monday next week after the Congress leader requested the agency to grant him a three-day relaxation for taking care of his ailing mother Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The agency was originally slated to continue the questioning on Friday.
Live updates: ED questioning of Rahul Gandhi
Rahul has been questioned in detail by the ED about the ownership of Young Indian Private Limited (YIL) by the Gandhi family and its shareholding pattern in Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the company that runs the National Herald newspaper.
The National Herald, started by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was published by the AJL. In 2010, the AJL, which faced financial difficulties, was taken over by a newly-floated YIL with Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda as directors.
Several Congress leaders detained
Scores of Congress leaders across the country were detained for staging protests against the ED probe against Rahul.
In Karnataka, state Congress chief DK Shivakumar, CLP leader Siddaramaiah and other party leaders were detained by police during their protest in Bengaluru.
In Maharashtra, state Congress president Nana Patole, PWD Minister Ashok Chavan, revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat, energy minister Nitin Raut, fisheries minister Aslam Sheikh, women and child welfare minister Yashomati Thakur, school education minister Varsha Gaikwad, medical education minister Amit Deshmukh, minister of state for agriculture Vishwajit Kadam and Mumbai Congress chief Bhai Jagtap were among those detained.
In Goa, at least 25 Congress leaders, including GPCC President Amit Patkar, were detained while walking towards the Raj Bhavan in Panaji to meet the governor.
A 10-member delegation of Gujarat Congress led by state party chief Jagdish Thakor called on Governor Acharya Devvrat in Gandhinagar to register their protest against Gandhi’s questioning and the police action against party leaders in Delhi.
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president and party MP A Revanth Reddy and Congress Legislature Party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka were also taken into preventive custody by police as they were proceeding towards Raj Bhavan.
Congress workers also staged a demonstration in Chennai, Jaipur, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
This comes a day after senior Congress leaders Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, KC Venugopal, Gaurav Gogoi, Deepender Singh Hooda, Ranjeet Ranjan, Imran Pratapgarhi among others were detained by Delhi Police.
Renuka Chowdhury booked for grabbing cop’s collar
Former Union minister and senior Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury was seen in a video purportedly grabbing the collar of an on-duty police official during the protest. The act forced the police to slap a case against her.
Issuing a clarification later, Chowdhury said that whatever happened was “unintentional” and she has “huge respect” for the police force.
“I know how to respect the uniform, my intention is not to humiliate the police,” she said.
During the protest, Chowdhury had said: “If you touch me …I drag you up to Parliament. Khabardar (beware) if you mess with us. We are peacefully walking along with women. What is this drama. Somehow you provoke and brand Congress on the consequences. I paid taxes for these roads. I am a citizen. I have a right more than police have (to walk on the road). If I try to enter Raj Bhavan you can question me.”
Delhi Police barged into party office: Congress
Earlier, Congress filed a complaint against Delhi Police for allegedly entering and attacking party workers, without provocation, at 24 Akbar Road.
The complaint has been registered at Tughlak Road Police Station in New Delhi.
A delegation of senior Congress leaders including Avinash Pande, Harish Choudhary, Pranav Jha and Challa Vamshi Reddy met with the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and Station House Officer (SHO) and filed a detailed written complaint.
Congress MPs meet Speaker Birla and VP Naidu
Earlier, a delegation of Congress MPs led by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury held a meeting with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
“We told the Speaker in detail, the manner in which we have been subjected to atrocities and violence. Speaker listened to us attentively. We spoke about Delhi Police officers who barged into the AICC office and attacked our MPs and workers in a pre-planned manner,” Chowdhury told reporters after the meeting.
A separate delegation of Congress’ Rajya Sabha MPs met Vice President Venkaiah Naidu at his residence and brought to his notice the “violations of privileges” of MPs by Delhi Police. The delegation was led by Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and had senior Congress leaders such as P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh and KC Venugopal.
Prior to that, the Congress MPs held a meeting at the Congress Parliamentary Party office to discuss the issue.
(With agency inputs)