On Friday, the Congress said all attempts to throttle democracy will only redouble the party’s commitment to fight for the truth. It also asked why all cases against its former chief Rahul Gandhi are filed by members of the ‘BJP ecosystem’. Dubbing the Gujarat High Court judgement against Rahul Gandhi as “disappointing but not unexpected”, the Congress said it will approach the Supreme Court.
In a tweet, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “Why is it that all cases filed against Rahul Gandhi is by members of the BJP ecosystem? Why is it that a stray reference to a complaint made on the last day of the hearing on May 2nd becomes a significant part of the judgement going against all codes and norms of fair justice? All these attempts to throttle democracy and silence Rahul Gandhi will only redouble our commitment to fight for truth and justice.”
Congress leader and senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, while addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in New Delhi, said, “Today, a single judge bench of the Gujarat High Court passed an order dismissing Rahul Gandhi’s application asking for a stay on conviction. This is highly disappointing, but it is not unexpected.”
Speaking further, Singhvi said, “Now, we are going to Supreme Court…. but the largest court is public and its conscience. People have understood the basic fact that the cottage industry of BJP, based on vendetta, has unleashed these diverse complaint-filing activity across the country to throttle Rahul Gandhi’s voice because he fearlessly speaks the truth.”
Singhvi said that Rahul Gandhi continues to expose the government – be it on China, demonetisation, unemployment or inflation and that he is not intimidated by pressure tactics and harassment. “He will always stand firm and straight for the larger issue of freedom of speech. We have full faith in the judiciary, particularly in the Supreme Court, where we are now proceeding. We have no doubt that this intersection of arrogance and infallibility shown by the government and the ruling party will be dealt with properly in the SC,” the Congress Rajya Sabha MP added.
Rahul Gandhi was sentenced to two years in jail in March this year for his 2019 comments over ‘Modi’s surname’ at an election rally. The Gujarat High Court has recently dismissed Rahul Gandhi’s appeal seeking a stay on his conviction in a criminal defamation case.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, senior AAP leader Atishi took aim at the BJP and the Centre. She accused them of spreading lies about Manish Sisodia, the jailed former Delhi deputy chief minister and attempting to defame him.
This follows the revelation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that it has — in the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case — attached two immovable assets owned by Sisodia and his wife, apart from bank deposits worth Rs 11.49 lakh.
Addressing a press conference, Atishi alleged that Sisodia has assets worth Rs 81 lakh, according to an ED document. “While the ED document says that Sisodia has total assets worth Rs 81 lakh only, the BJP is spreading lies about Delhi’s former deputy CM Manish Sisodia by telling the media that the ED attached Manish Sisodia’s assets amounting to Rs 52 crores in the excise case,” she said.
The fiesty AAP leader said further that her party was “not scared of the Centre and its agencies” and alleged that the BJP is “trying to defame Sisodia”. She added, “The BJP should apologise to Sisodia and his family. The BJP should understand that AAP is not scared of them or their agencies. The BJP wants to tarnish the image of Manish Sisodia because he is the one who provided quality education to every child in Delhi.”
Holding up a document, the senior AAP leader said that Sisodia has assets worth Rs 81 lakh, which includes a flat worth Rs 5 lakh that was purchased in 2005, another flat worth Rs 65 lakh that was purchased in 2018 and Rs 11.50 lakh in his bank account.
The Enforcement Directorate has issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to attach assets worth Rs 52.24 crore belonging to the Sisodia couple and some other people being probed in the case.