Senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot was today detained from outside the Congress headquarters amid huge protests over Rahul Gandhi’s questioning by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper.
Mr Pilot was reportedly trying to reach the party headquarters when he was stopped and taken away in a police bus.
Speaking to NDTV, Sachin Pilot said he is currently being held at the Narela police station and no reason has been cited for his detention.
“The police and government have made up their minds that no opposition leader can be allowed to do anything…Using police to lathi charge workers inside our offices is unprecedented,” he said.
On the police’s claim that they didn’t enter the Congress office, he said they are making up stories.
“How can police enter the opposition party’s headquarters and beat people up. This has never happened before,” he added.
In a video statement from inside the police bus, Mr Pilot had said he was only trying to go inside the party office. “This is a bad sign for democracy,” he said.
“We are being stopped from entering our office.
This tyrannical behaviour, I believe, is bad for democracy.
I condemn it. We will continue to fight for justice,” he added, amid slogans of support for Rahul Gandhi.
Rajasthan Congress MLA Mukesh Bhakar tweeted a video of the detention where Mr Pilot’s supporters can be seen arguing with the cops but he eventually agrees to get on the police bus amid supportive sloganeering by Congress workers.
Several Congress workers were also detained from outside the party headquarters.
The ED office where they held demonstrations and chanted slogans in support of Rahul Gandhi.
Videos showed some of the Youth Congress and Mahila Congress workers being dragged and taken away in buses.
Earlier in the day, top party leaders including KC Venugopal, Bhupesh Baghel and Randeep Surjewala accused the police of forcefully entering the Congress headquarters. Delhi Police, however, have denied the claim.
The Congress slammed the Centre after police and security forces allegedly entered its party headquarters and picked up some party workers.
Congress MP Karti P Chidambaram shared a video on Twitter where cops can be seen barging into the party office and carrying away a man, presumably a party worker, as a group of them raise slogans, question the police, and record the incident on their phones. Mr Chidambaram said the Delhi police were behaving like the “private militia” of the BJP.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi appeared today before the probe agency for the third consecutive day of questioning.
So far, Rahul Gandhi has faced over 25 hours of questioning at the ED office. His statement was recorded in multiple sessions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the probe agency officials. The Congress leader, sources say, checked the transcript of his statement minutely before submission.
The case pertains to the ED probe into the alleged financial irregularities between Young Indian and Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), which publishes the National Herald newspaper.