national herald case: ED summons to Sonia, Rahul: Congress calls case ‘fake’, terms action ‘vendetta politics’

The Congress on Wednesday tried to put up a brave face in the wake of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons to party president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul in the National Herald Case-AJL-Young India “money laundering” case, calling it a “fake case”, part of “political vendetta” by the ruling establishment and its effort to “divert public attention” from livelihood issues and vowed to fight it legally and politically. While the lawyers have sought more time for Rahul by citing he would take a few more days to return to India, Sonia Gandhi would appear before the ED on June 8.

Trying to project the ED summons as part of a larger political plot, the Congress spokesperson tried to liken Gandhis’ predicament to that of many other opposition leaders’ facing probes. “This is part of a larger disease, which will consume the ruling party ultimately. The disease is one of attacking every political party purely on vendetta terms, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Farooq Abdullah to DMK functionaries, from Gujarat to West Bengal, from Mevani to Mamata Banerjee and her family. The BJP has brought or tried to bring very political opponent under the net of puppet agencies like ED, CBI, IT….We will face them (ED). We are not a bit scared or intimidated by such cheap tactics,” party spokesperson and Gandhis’ lawyer Abhishek Singhvi said at an AICC briefing, timed right before the news break of the summons from the other side.

Another spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, even tried to argue that the ED summons to Gandhis in the National Herald case amounted to insulting freedom fighters as he tried to stretch the current case to that of the role played by the National Herald newspaper in the freedom movement. Gandhis had secured bail in the case from a Delhi court in mid 2015.

Singhvi claimed “better and non-malevolent minds” had “closed this case” in 2015 but the government “sacked” the then ED chief and got “a new opinion and they tried to reopen it” after seven years. He reiterated that the Congress and the Gandhis’ claim that “this is truly a very weird case, alleged case, a money laundering case, on which summons are issued with no money involved” and that the AJL-Young India transactions involved no money laundering or exchange of properties.

The AICC will arrange the typical solidarity show when the Gandhis appear before the ED. Yet, there is a palpable sense of anxiety in Congress circles as the summons are meant to signal a firmer resolve by the ED after its further probe into the case since Gandhis got the bail.

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