NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said his party is “not afraid of Narendra Modi” and the “intimidation tactics” of the Centre, a day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sealed the premises of Young Indian (YI) in the National Herald office in Delhi.
“They [government] think they will be able to silence us with a little pressure … We won’t be intimidated. We are not scared of Narendra Modi. They can do whatever they want …” Rahul told reporters when asked about the National Herald case.
We won’t be intimidated. We are not scared of Narendra Modi. They can do whatever they want: #RahulGandhi… https://t.co/pR3vif0LZZ— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) 1659597870000
Launching a direct attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Amit Shah, Rahul accused them of “acting against the democracy” and asserted that Congress will continue to oppose them, “come what may”.
“I will continue to work to protect the country and democracy and maintain harmony in the country. I will continue to do my work whatever they may do,” he said in his first response after the ED sealing the Young Indian office.
On the barricading issue, he said “truth cannot be barricaded”, and added his party will continue to protest.
The ED on Wednesday sealed a part of Herald House in New Delhi while it carried out searches at the building as part of its probe into the finances of Young Indian. During the action, the Delhi Police had also blocked roads leading to the AICC headquarters in the national capital, prompting Congress leaders to declare that the party was “under siege”.
The Congress had heavily criticised the ED action, calling it a “pressure tactic” by the government ahead of the party’s nationwide protest planned on August 5.
Addressing a hurriedly-convened press conference at the party office on Wednesday, Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Ajay Maken and Abhishek Singhvi said the party will not be intimidated by this kind of “cheap and petty politics” and will continue to raise people’s issues.
Earlier, on Tuesday, the ED had raided a dozen locations, including the National Herald newspaper and web portal office in Herald House as part of its money laundering probe in the National Herald-AJL-Young Indian deal.
The case pertains to allegations of financial irregularities during the acquisition of AJL by the Gandhi-owned Young Indian Limited in 2010.
The ED has extensively questioned Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her MP son Rahul Gandhi in the case apart from a few other Congress politicians in the case.
While Sonia Gandhi was questioned for over 11 hours over three rounds last month, Rahul was quizzed for more than 50 hours over five days in June.
The questioning had led to a series of protests by the Congress members across the country, with senior leaders taking to the streets to condemn the ED action against the Gandhis.
The Congress party has said it gave a Rs 90 crore loan to an ailing AJL between 2001-02 and 2010-11 and later, in 2011, the shares of AJL were allotted to Young Indian and this debt was converted into equity and the loan was extinguished in the books of the AJL.
The ED claims these transactions attract anti-money laundering charges as a complex web of transactions and routing of funds were undertaken by the party and its leaders to acquire AJL’s assets worth multiple crores of rupees.
(With inputs from agencies)