As Sonia Gandhi appeared before Enforcement Directorate for questioning again, Congress levelled allegations against the Centre for creating "ED terror" in the country and "weaponising" the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
"The ED is creating drama in the country. First, they summoned Rahul Gandhi. He was interrogated for several hours in five days. Sonia Gandhi has been summoned for the third time today. We have no idea how long it would last. The ED has created terror. There should be a timely SC decision on the terror of ED in the country," Rajasthan Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said.
Addressing a joint press conference along with Ghulam Nabi Azad, Jairam Ramesh and Anand Sharma, Gehlot further said that ED has become more powerful than CBI despite having a less than 5 per cent success rate. It is pertinent to mention that Gehlot addressed the press conference with G-23 leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma.
Gehlot said that the government is misusing the agency to dislodge elected governments, as we saw in Maharashtra recently.
"The ED is being used to collapse governments as you saw in Maharashtra but ED can't set the cabinet which is evident from the situation in Maharashtra. You can see where democracy is going," Gehlot added.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad who said he was not keeping well so he could not participate in the recent protest. "I was unwell for the past 2 months because of which I was not able to take part in dharnas. Every leader has expressed his opinion on what is happening in the country," he said.
"I have nothing new to say as to what my party colleagues have said for the past month. The ED had earlier decided to close the case and now it has been reopened. This is beyond comprehension," said Azad.
Citing the old age and health issues of the Congress president, Azad further said, "I don't understand why the ED is calling Sonia Gandhi again and again. She is old and has not been keeping well. When the ED has already questioned Rahul Gandhi then what is the need to call Sonia ji. This is not right when all the papers are there with the ED."
Anand Sharma, who was also present, said he endorsed what Azad and Gehlot said.
Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi appeared before the Enforcement Directorate office in the national capital for the third round of questioning in connection with a money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper.
Sonia Gandhi reached the ED office accompanied by her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
The 75-year-old had left the agency's office in central Delhi just before 7 pm on Tuesday after recording her statement.
Officials said that on Tuesday, Sonia Gandhi's response was sought to around 30 questions regarding her involvement with the National Herald newspaper and Young Indian Pvt Ltd, the company under investigation.
Her questioning at the ED office in central Delhi went on for nearly 2.5 hours beginning at 11 am and continuing after a 90-minute lunch break until 7 pm. Her questioning was conducted by a team led by additional director Monika Sharma.
During her questioning on Tuesday, the Lok Sabha MP from Rae Bareli was asked about the functioning and running of the newspaper, the role of its various office bearers, and her and Rahul Gandhi's involvement in the affairs of the National Herald and Young Indian.
Officials said the agency would also confirm her statement with that of Rahul Gandhi, as both are majority stakeholders in Young Indian Pvt Ltd.
Last month the ED also questioned Rahul Gandhi for five days in the National Herald case.
The case to investigate alleged financial irregularities under the PMLA was registered about nine months ago after a trial court took cognisance of an Income Tax department probe carried out on the basis of a private criminal complaint filed by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.
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