INDIA. New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi today for what he described as pressure tactics used by government agencies to stifle him and other opposition voices.
In a money laundering investigation, the Enforcement Directorate interrogated Gandhi for roughly 50 hours for five days in June. The central agency also questioned Sonia Gandhi, the head of the Congress, on possible money laundering related to the National Herald newspaper.
“If you are referring to National Herald, intimidation is at the heart of the entire situation. Amit Shah and Narendra Modi believe we would stop speaking if they applied just enough pressure. We won’t, though. We will defend democracy against everything Narendra Modi and Amit Shah do,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi spoke to the reporters today as Congress MPs prepared to meet to discuss their plan of action after the Enforcement Directorate closed the Young Indian office in Delhi over the National Herald case.
Gandhi replied to a question regarding the threat he faces from BJP, “There is nowhere to hide.”
“Who is talking about running? The ones who mention running are them. We’re not going to back down. Narendra Modi is not a threat to us, so act in any way you choose. I’ll continue to perform my duty, which is to defend democracy and uphold peace throughout the nation.”
The Enforcement Directorate reportedly questioned Rahul and Sonia Gandhi on their participation with the National Herald newspaper and Young Indian Pvt Ltd. hundreds of times in June and July.
The National Herald case concerns the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), the organisation that owns the National Herald newspaper, by Young Indian and the subsequent transactions. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy accused Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and others of plotting to misappropriate funds in a complaint filed with the Delhi High Court.
While Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were being interrogated, the BJP also retaliated against the widespread protests by Congress members and leaders. The BJP had claimed that Rahul Gandhi’s assets worth Rs 2,000 crore were the real reason the Congress was protesting, not to defend democracy.
When Rahul Gandhi was questioned on June 13, Union Minister Smriti Irani said, “Congress leaders have rushed to the streets to exert pressure on an investigating agency openly since their wrongdoing has been exposed.” But she had added, “Not even Rahul Gandhi is beyond the law.”
According to Irani, the company’s ownership was changed to one family, so it would stop publishing newspapers and focus on real estate instead.
She had asked if those who had donated money to the Congress to support democratic causes had intended it to go to a company run by the Gandhi family.