Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP KC Venugopal was manhandled by the Delhi Police today as they were detaining Congressmen to stop them from taking part in a protest march. The Congress had planned a march from the party office to the offices of the Enforcement Directorate in solidarity with Rahul Gandhi, as he was to appear before the agency for questioning in the National Herald money laundering case.
Though the march was scheduled for 10 am, since morning, the Delhi Police started rounding up the Congress workers and leaders to pre-empt the show of strength.
Late last evening, the police had refused permission for the march, citing "communal and law and order situation" and VVIP movement. It had refused to reconsider the decision despite Congress appeals.
The action started early this morning. Dramatic cellphone videos from across the city showed slogan-shouting Congress workers being forcibly caught by the police and loaded into buses.
In a video that emerged later in the day, Mr Venugopal, 59, is seen being physically picked up by a policeman, and hauled towards a waiting bus.
The video was shared by Youth Congress chief Srinivas BV, who in a tweet said, "This behaviour of Delhi Police with a sitting Rajya Sabha MP and AICC General Secretary @kcvenugopalmp ji is highly condemnable".
Later, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited the Tughlaq Road police station to meet Mr Venugopal, who was detained there along with other Congress workers.
The Congress has accused the BJP-led Central government of misusing the investigative agencies to target political opponents. The party said its protest march is meant to highlight the issue.
Protests outside ED offices in every state were also planned for today.
The case in which Mr Gandhi has been summoned for questioning is connected to the probe into the alleged financial irregularities in the party-promoted Young Indian that owns the National Herald newspaper, founded by Jawaharlal Nehru, the great-grandfather of Mr Gandhi. The paper is published by Associated Journals Limited.
Mr Gandhi's mother and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was also summoned, but she has been given more time in view of her Covid-positive state. She was admitted in hospital yesterday with Covid-linked complaints. The party has said that she is stable.