With Rahul Gandhi set to appear before the Law Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case, senior Congress official P Chidambaram claimed on Sunday that the former party leader’s summons was ” baseless” and said it appears the investigative agency’s jurisdiction does not extend to BJP members or BJP-governed states.
In an interview with PTI, Mr. Chidambaram also said that every effort should and will be made to forge unity among the opposition parties in the upcoming presidential elections.
Asked about the summoning of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi and Congress’s decision for a show of force when the former appears before the investigative agency on Monday, Mr Chidambaram said: “I speak as a member of Congress and ED’s summons to Mr. Rahul Gandhi under the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) is without merit.”
Stressing that the money laundering offense requires ‘money’ and ‘money laundering’, the former Home Secretary said that in the National Herald’s debt-to-equity conversion, this that lending banks regularly do, there had been no transaction. silver. Therefore, how can there be money laundering, he asked.
“It’s like charging someone with a ‘bag snatching’ offense when there was no purse and no snatching,” he said.
As members of Congress, Mr Chidambaram said, party leaders will express their solidarity with Rahul Gandhi and march with him to the ED office on Monday.
Reacting to the government’s assertion that the agencies are doing their job and that the opposition should not be worried if they have done nothing wrong, P Chidambaram said that with regard to the ED “doing its work”, “it appears that the jurisdiction of the ED does not extend to BJP members or BJP-governed states!”
Asked about the opposition’s allegation that agencies such as the Directorate of Law Enforcement and the CBI were being used against it, he said the ‘selective actions’ of investigative agencies had raised doubts in the minds of the opposition parties.
“I won’t say anything more,” he added.
With Rahul Gandhi due to appear before the Law Enforcement Branch on June 13 in connection with the money laundering case relating to the National Herald-Associated Journals Ltd deal, Congress has ruled that all his top leaders and MPs would stage a protest march to the agency’s headquarters here and hold a “satyagraha” against what the party called its “abuse” by the central government.
Congressional leaders in the states will also stage marches to agency offices in their respective states and hold a “satyagraha” on Monday.
Asked about the outrage and condemnation from a number of Muslim-majority nations over controversial remarks about the Prophet Muhammad and calls that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have intervened in the matter when the comments were facts, Chidambaram said, “Most definitely, yes, the Prime Minister should have spoken and acted immediately after the offensive words of the two (BJP) spokespersons.”
“The Prime Minister’s silence is disconcerting, but in line with his silence on past occasions. It is sad that the government turned a deaf ear when opposition parties, civil society leaders, writers, academics and ordinary citizens warned the government to end Islamophobia, but I woke up with a jolt when 16 countries protested these statements,” he said.
Should Indian Muslims look to foreign countries to end Islamophobia, Mr Chidambaram asked.
On the ongoing protests over the issue in various parts of the country, Chidambaram said the government – and the BJP behind the government – have been “exposed as insincere” when it comes to defending the secularism.
“I read that Sadhvi Pragya spoke in favor of Nupur Sharma. The silence of the Prime Minister and Home Minister, the voices within the BJP in favor of the spokespersons and the bureaucratic response to the loud protests of 16 foreign countries speak volumes about the position of the BJP,” Mr. Chidambaram said.
This is not a new position, it can be traced to the writings of RSS leaders, he said.
“Naturally, I am concerned about the turmoil in society. It is the government’s responsibility to reassure minorities and restore peace,” Chidambaram said.
Regarding the ongoing debate on the need for blasphemy laws in the country, he said that there were enough laws in the country to deal with blasphemy and there was no need for a new law. .
“Under the BJP governments, laws are enforced with an evil eye and an uneven hand,” he alleged.
Asked if Congress had been accused of peddling soft Hindutva in the past and whether the party should take an aggressive stance on minority issues, Chidambaram dismissed suggestions that his party peddled soft Hindutva and said affirmed that the official position of the Congress, the resolutions and its statements have never deviated from its commitment to secularism.
“The Congress does not need to be aggressive or defensive. We must respect the declaration in the Constitution that India will be a secular country,” he said.
“In thought, word and deed, we must be secular and never stray from the core value of secularism,” the senior congressional official said.
“We will speak and write at every opportunity in support of minority constitutional rights,” said P Chidambaram.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)