New Delhi [India]: To strengthen its ‘Satyagraha’ to mark protest over the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) probe against Rahul Gandhi in a money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper and the Centre’s newly launched Agnipath recruitment scheme, Congress has called its MLAs from various states to the party headquarters in the national capital.
These MLAs will be joining the satyagraha at the 24, Akbar Road office in Delhi. Congress held a ‘Satyagraha’ at Jantar Mantar in the national capital on Monday to mark their protest over both these issues.
Top Congress leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge, Salman Khurshid, K Suresh, V Narayanasamy, KC Venugopal and others were present at Congress’ Satyagraha at Jantar Mantar.
As the protests continued, the Twitter handle of the Congress party on behalf of Rahul Gandhi wrote, “People who make false promises of providing employment to two crore youth every year, are forcing the youth of the country to walk on the ‘firepath’ of unemployment.
The situation is deteriorating all around the country at this time, only and only the Prime Minister is responsible for it.”
Mallikarjun Kharge also lashed out at the Centre over the Agnipath scheme.
The Union Cabinet on June 14 approved a recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the three services of the Armed Forces called Agnipath and the youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers.
After the policy, which allows Indian youths to serve in the regular cadre of the Armed Forces for a period of four years, was announced on June 14, protests erupted in various states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Telangana, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand and Assam.
As the agitation intensified in some places, protestors went on the rampage setting trains on fire, torching vehicles and damaging both private and public properties.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi was questioned at ED headquarters for over 12 hours on Tuesday.
The Lok Sabha member from Wayanad in Kerala was questioned by the ED for over 27 hours for three straight days from June 13 to June 15 and was again summoned on June 20. On Monday he was questioned for around 14 hours.
The Congress leader was deposed before the ED investigators in the case for the first time on June 13.
He first sought exemption from appearance on June 16, following which he was called on June 17.
But the senior Congress leader wrote to the ED to postpone his questioning citing the illness of his mother Sonia Gandhi. The ED then allowed him to join the probe on June 20 at his request.
Rahul Gandhi is being questioned about the ownership of Young Indian Private Limited (YIL) by the Gandhi family and its shareholding pattern in Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the company that runs the National Herald newspaper, said sources.
The National Herald, started by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was published by the AJL. In 2010, the AJL, which faced financial difficulties, was taken over by a newly-floated YIL with Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda as directors, both of them Gandhi loyalists.
In a complaint in the Delhi High Court, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy accused Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul Gandhi, and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds. Officials familiar with the probe said Rahul Gandhi is being asked questions about the takeover of the AJL by YIL since the Gandhis have stakes in the latter.
Rahul Gandhi’s mother and Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi has also been summoned by the ED to appear before the investigators in the case on June 23.
The agency earlier recorded the statements of both the Congress leaders and then under the PMLA. While Kharge is the CEO of YIL, Bansal is the Managing Director of AJL.