Govt’s aim is ‘character assassination’; trample Opposition’ voice: Pilot on Sonia’s ED questioning

New Delhi: Criticizing the Center over the Enforcement Directorate’s questioning of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party leader Sachin Pilot on Thursday said the BJP-led government’s sole aim is “character killing” and “trampling” the voice of the people. Is. Oppose. Gandhi appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here for questioning in a money laundering probe related to the National Herald-Associated Journals Limited case.

The 75-year-old Congress leader arrived at the federal probe agency’s headquarters located at Vidyut Lane flanking A P J Abdul Kalam Road in central Delhi a little after noon, escorted by her ‘Z+’ category Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) security cover.

The pilot, who later said he was detained by the police, told reporters outside the AICC headquarters that the government’s policy should be focused on reducing inflation, ending the climate of violence, and ending unemployment, but On the contrary, it’s sole purpose is to target Congress.

“Fictitious cases are being registered, there is no FIR, no criminality, no transaction, so how can there be a case of laundering?” He said referring to Gandhi being called for questioning by the ED.

“This questioning has been initiated to damage the morale of the leadership, target the Opposition and trample upon the voice of the Opposition. I want to assure you that all Congress leaders and the people will stand against this, we will fight, we will also take on them politically and will expose the central government,” the former Union minister told reporters.

Asked whether Sonia Gandhi can be called again after the ED has called Rahul Gandhi for questioning for five days, Pilot said he can do anything and we are ready to do anything.

“The only aim of the BJP government is to indulge in character assassination of people (those who oppose them), try to suppress them, break their morale, but they will not succeed,” he said.

The pilot expressed confidence that the roots of democracy are very strong in this country and the Centre will not succeed by targeting the Opposition.

“Congress leaders and workers are standing with Sonia Gandhi Ji. No matter how much they try, we will not allow them to divert attention from real issues of the people. Look at what is happening, they have created a police cantonment, they are using force, there is a misuse of power and mandate,” he said pointing to the increased police presence near the Congress headquarters.

The issue is not about a party or one leader, it is about how the democratic institutions of this country are being hollowed out, Pilot said.

“There is blatant misuse, the one who comes close to power, that person’s wrongdoings are forgiven and the one who opposes you, you try and get that person to be declared an offender. The whole Opposition is united on this,” he said.

Sonia Gandhi’s questioning by the ED comes days after Rahul Gandhi was questioned by the agency in the case for over 50 hours in sessions spread across five days last month. A few years back, the ED had questioned Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra as part of its probe into two another money laundering investigations.

The move to question the Gandhis was initiated after the ED late last year registered a fresh case under criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after a trial court here took cognisance of an Income tax department probe against Young Indian based on a private criminal complaint filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are among the promoters and majority shareholders of Young Indian. Like his son, the Congress president also holds a 38 per cent stake.

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