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‘Undeclared emergency in Delhi’: Top Cong leaders hit out after being held over stir against ED questioning of Rahul Gandhi

Top Congress leaders, including Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Chief Ministers Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, K C Venugopal, were held as they tried to accompany leader Rahul Gandhi to the ED headquarters where he appeared for questioning in the National Herald case.

Written by Manoj C G , Abhinaya Harigovind | New Delhi |
Updated: June 13, 2022 9:58:58 pm
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and senior Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda sit inside an RAF bus as they are detained during their protest march from AICC to the ED's office in New delhi on Monday. (Express Photo by Anil Sharma)

Top Congress leaders, including Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Chief Ministers Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel, were detained and taken to various police stations as the leadership tried to accompany senior leader Rahul Gandhi to the headquarters of the Enforcement Directorate where he appeared for questioning in the National Herald case.

Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said he was manhandled by the Delhi Police while they were detaining him. He added that he suffered an injury in his jaw and was taken to the Tughlaq Road police station. AICC General secretary in-charge of organisation, K C Venugopal, too, was allegedly forcibly pushed and shoved inside a police bus, party leaders said. The Congress also released a video of police personnel forcibly detaining Venugopal. While Congress leader P Chidambaram was also among the protesters near the ED office, he later left in a car.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi at the Congress office in New Delhi on Monday. (Express Photo by Anil Sharma)

The ED started questioning Rahul Gandhi in the morning on Monday.

Rahul was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper.

Almost the entire top leadership of the party had converged at the AICC headquarters at 24 Akbar Road by 9 am. All roads leading to the party office were heavily barricaded by the police, which had denied permission to the Congress to take out a march to the ED headquarters.

Rahul, with his sister and AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, arrived at 10.50 am. Within five minutes, after a short meeting with the leadership, he came out and walked out of the AICC headquarters with senior leaders in tow.

While Rahul was allowed to leave, leaders, including Baghel and Gehlot, struggled to come out. Baghel’s security officers were seen arguing with the Delhi Police personnel as he tried to make his way out of the party office to accompany Rahul.

While Rahul left in a car to the ED office, the leaders walked and were stopped at various places by the police. The strong barricading meant many of the leaders could not even reach the AICC office. The police had ensured that a large number of party workers didn’t reach the AICC headquarters.

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While leaders like Gehlot, leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh, Digvijaya Singh and several other leaders were taken to the Fetehpuri Beri police station, Venugopal, Adhir, Harish Rawat, along with a large number of leaders and MPs, were taken to the Tughlaq Road police station. A visibly exhausted Venugopal’s blood pressure had to be checked at the police station as he just recovered from a bout of Covid.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra went to the Tughlaq road police station to meet the leaders and also interacted with Venugopal.

Baghel was released after some time. He said the “whole nation is witnessing the ruling party’s dictatorship.” He added that Congress workers were stopped from reaching the party headquarters and the entire area was cordoned off and police personnel were deployed all around in an attempt to crush democracy.

“It is the democratic right of the Opposition party to hold protests and the BJP is trying to suppress it…. When Sonia Gandhi appears before the ED, there will be a bigger demonstration than this,” Baghel said. “No matter how much barricading the Delhi Police does, no matter how hard they try, truth will prevail. The BJP-led Central government is only following dictatorship, no law of the land is being followed. If you have arrived in front of the ED office, you will be detained by the police,” he added.

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot with Deepender Singh Hooda and other party leaders during their protest march from AICC to the ED office in New Delhi on Monday. (Express Photo by Anil Sharma)

In his complaint, Chowdhury said: “I have been badly manhandled by the Delhi Police on the way to the ED office without even an iota of provocation. During the phase of police atrocities, I got an injury in the upper jaw of my mouth.”

Addressing a press conference, Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said several Congress leaders were not allowed to come out of their houses by the police. He said the BJP government has imposed an “undeclared emergency” in Delhi and alleged that thousands of its workers and leaders have been arrested or placed under house arrest.

“The Modi government has imposed an undeclared emergency in Delhi and thousands of barricades have come up and our Congress workers have been arrested since last night,” he told reporters. “We will answer every question that the Election Department and the puppet ED will ask. The truth will win in the court against lies and tyranny,” he added. Surjewala also alleged that the “descendants of Godse” are once again challenging Gandhi and his descendants. “Neither Godse could kill Gandhi nor will his descendants be able to kill his ideology today,” he said.

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Asking why thousands of policemen have been deployed in Central Delhi ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the ED office, he said, “Is there any threat to the Modi government? Why are you so scared?” He alleged that a “scared and cowardly” Modi government is trying to suppress the voice of truth.

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First published on: 13-06-2022 at 02:21:13 pm

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