Sonia Gandhi questioned by ED for 2nd time; Rahul, MPs detained for march towards Prez House

Inside Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha too, MPs from Congress, supported by other Opposition parties, staged protests when the proceedings began
Last Updated 26 July 2022, 14:34 IST

Rahul Gandhi and other Congress MPs were detained on Monday as they insisted on marching towards Rashtrapati Bhavan protesting against the "misuse" of central agencies, as party chief Sonia Gandhi was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald case for the second time in five days.

Opposition leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge, AAP's Sanjay Singh, DMK's Tiruchi Siva, Samajwadi Party's Ramgopal Yadav and CPI(M)'s Elamaram Kareem among others petitioned President Droupadi Murmu about the "continued and intensifying misuse of investigative agencies by the Modi government as part of a systematic vendetta against its political opponents".

Sonia was questioned for over six hours while the MPs who were detained were also released later. She has been asked to appear again on Wednesday.

Soon after Sonia appeared before the investigators at ED headquarters here, Congress MPs gathered at the Gandhi Statue and marched towards Rashtrapati Bhavan in an attempt to hand over the memorandum signed by Opposition leaders. They were, however, stopped at Vijay Chowk and Rahul sat on the road.

The MPs were later detained as they insisted on marching towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Rahul, who was put in a police bus, said, "India is a police state, Modi is a king...Discussions are not being allowed in Parliament...I am not going anywhere. We wanted to go towards the President's house. But the police are not allowing us."

Tweeting his pictures as he was being detained, Rahul said, "Look at the dictatorship. (We) cannot hold peaceful demonstrations, (we) cannot discuss inflation and unemployment. By misusing the police and agencies, even by arresting us, you will never be able to silence us. Truth will end this dictatorship."

Congress General Secretary (Communications) and senior Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh tweeted, "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 the Prime Minister and the Home Minister know where." The MPs were taken to Kingsway Camp police station in North Delhi.

Inside Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha too, MPs from Congress, supported by other Opposition parties, staged protests when the proceedings began, leading to disruption and adjournment in the morning session.

Congress alleged that Delhi Police denied permission to hold a protest at Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, against the "misuse" of central agencies like the ED.

Earlier, Sonia reached the ED office at 11 am accompanied by Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, amid Delhi Police throwing elaborate security arrangements in the city to ensure that protests by Congress workers do not create trouble.

She was earlier questioned on July 21 for about two hours when 28 questions were put forward and like on the first occasion, Priyanka was allowed to be in another room of the ED office in case the Congress president needed medicines or assistance. Sonia had recently recovered from Covid-19 and was in hospital.

(Published 26 July 2022, 06:35 IST)

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