Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday was quizzed for the fifth day for nine hours by the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald money laundering case.
The Congress MP from Wayanad has spent almost 50 hours at the ED office over five sittings with the investigators questioning him over multiple sessions and recording his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The Congress party has termed the interrogation as a tactic that is being employed by the central government to divert the attention of the people from ‘half-baked attempts’ of policy making, which includes the recently launched Agnipath recruitment scheme.
Addressing the media at the party office in Delhi, Rajya Sabha member and national spokesperson, Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the questions that the ED was posing to Gandhi for the last five days in the National Herald case was akin to ‘hounding’ and it was trying to create a case where none exists.
“The Agnipath Scheme was launched without consultation or application of mind and is yet another chain of poorly thought out announcements which have
led to these huge protests and disputes across the country. To deal with these protests, the Modi government deal is utilizing its time-tested technique of distraction, digression and deceit. One of those distraction, digression and deceit is to keep hounding Rahul Gandhi. 4 days, 40 hours; 5th Day, 55 hours; today, I am sure, he will cross the half century mark, if at all, there is no 6th day,”Singhvi, who has been deputed by the party leadership to address the legal queries being raised by the media since this issue came up, said.
According to Singhvi, Gandhi was called up after a time frame of 7 years to “distract the nation’s attention, to keep all cameras focused on this charade at the ED office and to make sure that the issues, which deserve attention, be it Agnipath, be it price rise, be it unemployment remains camouflaged and hidden.”
“There is nothing constitutional or legal about this process. Everything is personal, not constitutional; personal grudge, personal grievance, and personal vendetta. I have some limited experience of the law, only 40 years plus. I have in my entire experience of a diverse area of law never seen investigative agencies in a case like this, of this nature, or degree, never ever seen calling someone for 5 days, for roughly 10-12 hours of questioning each day. You may have ED cases, CBI cases, IT cases etc. I can assure you with my limited experience that they have never seen this kind of hounding. Let us go a little deeper, you apply your common sense, you are the ED, how many questions can you ask me, how many times can you repeat that question and how long can you ask that question? I am not grudging them their right to question, but, what is this Himalayan bundle of questions, which never ends, 29,000 plus feet high”, he said.
As per Singhvi, the ED had posed questions like was Rahul Gandhi a shareholder and a Director of Young India or Does Young India own a majority of the shares of AJL- the response of all which were open and official.
“They asked that since Rahul Gandhi is a shareholder of Young India and Young India is a shareholder of AJL, does not Rahul not own the assets of AJL (Associated Journals Limited)? The answer to this can’t be asked in a question, because law says that a shareholder of a company does not own the assets of that company. So, Young India does not own the assets of AJL. It may be a shareholder, a majority shareholder. How many times did you ask this question; over 55 hours, 5 days! And these are legal answers; these are not factual answers subject to questioning,” Singhvi claimed.
He asserted that the entire line of questioning by the ED revealed ‘malaise’ and absence of rudimentary evidence and was ignoring laid down laws that bars entities like “Young India” company cannot give salary, perks, dividends anything by any name.