Heightened police activity outside the Congress party's headquarters and chief Sonia Gandhi's residence following the sealing of the offices of a company linked to the party's leadership was an attempt to intimidate the opposition, Congress leaders said on Wednesday.
"@INCIndia is under siege. Delhi police has surrounded our HQs, and homes of INC President & ex-President.This is the worst form of vendetta politics. We will not submit! We will not be silenced! We will continue to raise our voice against injustices and failures of Modi Sarkar!" senior leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted.
At a news conference, he called the moves "politics of revenge and threats" and took a shot at Union Home Minister Amit Shah. "Who controls the Delhi Police that is trying to stop our protest day after?" he said.
"Today you have created a siege mentality, a climate of fear. The entire country watches as investigative agencies are deployed mindlessly against the leadership of India's oldest political party," his colleague Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
"You are treating this institution, this party, these leaders as terrorists. It is the worst form of petty politics and on the contrary, you blame us," Mr Singhvi said.
Congress leaders said they would go ahead with a planned protest on Friday outside Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence over rising prices.
"It is an attempt to intimidate. If you continue intimidating people like this, there will be a revolt," Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge said.
The road to the Congress party's headquarters was briefly blocked on Wednesday, with the Congress alleging this has become a norm rather than an exception, while the police said barricades were put up and its personnel deputed to avoid any untoward situation.
This came soon after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) temporarily sealed the offices of Young Indian (YI) in the Congress-owned National Herald office in Delhi as part of an ongoing money laundering investigation.
According to police sources, the temporary seal in the Young Indian office was put in order to "preserve the evidence" which could not be collected as authorised representatives were not present during the raids on Tuesday.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh shared a video showing heavy police presence outside the Congress headquarters and the road sealed for traffic.
"Delhi Police blocking the road to AICC Headquarters has become a norm rather than an exception! Why have they just done so is mysterious...," Mr Ramesh tweeted.
Delhi Police blocking the road to AICC Headquarters has become a norm rather than an exception! Why have they just done so is mysterious… pic.twitter.com/UrZCNigNHy— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) August 3, 2022
A senior Delhi police officer told news agency PTI, "We have received inputs from our special branch that some protesters might gather at the Congress Office situated on Akbar Road. So, as a preventive measure, we have put barricades and deputed our personnel to avoid any untoward situation."
On Tuesday, the ED raided the head office of the National Herald newspaper here and 11 other locations as part of its probe.
The ED had earlier questioned Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi in the case.