Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday said that the arrest of party leader D K Shivakumar by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with an alleged money laundering case is "very clearly an example of political vendetta".
"This is very clearly an example of political vendetta because it's an action taken against an individual who has been cooperating throughout with all the investigative agencies, whose places have been raided multiple times, who has not hidden anything. The arrest is clearly seen as punitive... he has been cooperating with every inquiry," he told the media here.
Shivakumar was arrested on Tuesday evening. Karnataka Congress has called for statewide protests on Wednesday against the arrest of their party leader by the ED.
"How does the arrest actually help? It just sends a chilling signal to other opponents of the government... They don't like to hear any voice from the Opposition... The government has full authority to conduct any inquiry, whether it is CBI, ED or I-T.
"If somebody says that I want cooperate and will run away, then it will be a different thing. But since the beginning, everybody knew where Shivakumar and Chidambaram were. They have cooperated throughout the inquiry. Beyond that, raids have been conducted at their offices and houses. After that this, what is need to arrest them?" Tharoor said.
Asked about party leaders criticising him over his statement praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the MP said, "What I said is, our principle should be that we should understand why people voted for Modi. We got 19 per cent votes in 2014 and 2019. BJP, under Modi, got 31 per cent votes in 2014, 37 per cent in 2019. Many of these are people who used to vote for us, they have gone to BJP."
He added, "When you don't understand why they left, how can you bring them back? I said let's figure out. I'm not praising Mr Modi. I am saying let us understand why he attracted these votes. We must acknowledge what has been done right, point out mistakes and failings, and then do better ourselves."
On release of the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Tharoor said, "When the government started on this exercise, they should have paid enough attention to due process. They should have paid attention to the difficulty Indian citizens have of establishing things like their birth, their residence and all.
"There are ministers in the government of the BJP over whom there have been controversies--over their date of birth, controversy over their educational qualifications because papers, certificates and so on are not unfortunately available in many Indian families the way they are in a western country."
Tharoor stated that the government is "betraying the Constitution which grants every Indian citizen certain rights.