Cong leaders gather at party headquarters to express solidarity with top leadership

NEW DELHI [India], June 13 (ANI): Congress leaders on Monday gathered at party headquarters in the national capital to express solidarity with top leadership as Rahul Gandhi appeared before Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the National Herald case.

Among the prominent leaders who were seen at the party headquarters were Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Jairam Ramesh, Sachin Pilot, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Mallikarjun Kharge, Karti Chidambaram among others. Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi accompanied by his sister and party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday arrived at Congress headquarters here before they marched to the ED office from here accompanied by Congress workers.

Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel joined Rahul Gandhi in march to ED office Delhi Police, however, had denied permission to a Congress rally. The Delhi police cited law and order behind the denial of the permission for the rally. Earlier today Congress workers staged a protest holding placards and amidst massive sloganeering in support of Rahul Gandhi. 'Rahul Gandhi zindabad, zindabad' song resonated at Congress party headquarters in the national capital.

Several Congress workers were detained near the party headquarters as they raised slogans against the Central government. Slamming the Centre for denying permission to Congress to hold its "Satyagraha march" in the national capital, party general secretary Randeep Surjewala said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has imposed an "undeclared emergency" in the entire central Delhi area.

Addressing a press conference here he said, "We will hold a peaceful protest march to the ED office under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. We are the protectors of the Constitution, we will not bow down or be scared. By deploying a large police force, it has been proven that the Modi government is shaken by Congress."

Speaking to ANI, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram said that they are here in the national capital from various parts of India to show solidarity with our party leadership and show the nation the blatant misuse of ED.

"We are here from various parts of India to show solidarity with our party leadership&show the nation the blatant misuse of ED. All cases of ED are bogus. I have got ED notices the maximum times, so I am the resident expert in Congress in the matters of ED," said Chidambaram.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that Congress believe in peaceful protest and not instigating riots like BJP. "We want to go along, it's not a crime. They are deliberately not giving us permission. We urged Amit Shah to allow us but to no avail. We believe in peaceful protest & not instigating riots like BJP," he said.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is also in Delhi said, "What is wrong with holding a peaceful protest march against the misuse of central agencies by the ruling government?"

He further said that they protesting against what's happening in the country today. "PM should give a message to the nation that violence won't be tolerated," added Gehlot. A congress worker dressed in a Ravan avatar said that the ruling government is playing the role of 'Raavan' while adding that the protest will continue till the time Rahul doesn't leave from ED office.

"The ruling govt is playing the role of 'Raavan'. We want to tell them that Rahul Gandhi is our 'Ram' and we are devoted to him; We will continue our protest till the time Rahul ji doesn't leave from ED office," said a Congress worker. Huge police deployment was seen outside the Enforcement Directorate office on this morning with some Congress workers getting detained outside party headquarters.

Rahul Gandhi has been summoned to join the investigation on June 13. He was earlier summoned to join the investigation but he was out of the country and later he was given a fresh date of June 13 to join the probe. ED on Friday issued a fresh summons to Sonia Gandhi asking her to appear on June 23 for questioning in connection with the National Herald money laundering case.

Congress has alleged that it is a "political vendetta" and the case has no grounds for investigation. The ED also questioned senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress Treasurer Pawan Bansal in April this year in New Delhi in connection with its money laundering probe into the National Herald case.

The agency then recorded the statements of both the Congress leaders under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The National Herald is published by Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and owned by Young Indian Private Limited (YIL). While Kharge is the CEO of YIL, Bansal is the Managing Director of AJL.

The ED is currently investigating the shareholding pattern and financial transactions as well as the role of party functionaries in the functioning of the AJL and YIL. The YIL promoters include Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.