Irked by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) grilling Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for three consecutive days in the National Herald case, the party workers on Wednesday intensified their protest against the government and has termed the ED's action as "politically motivated".
Utter scenes of chaos prevailed throughout the day outside the Congress headquarters and the ED office. The party workers were being detained every then and now. Video and images of Congress workers, including women being forcibly carried from the roads, as they were lying down, went viral on social media.
Things turned profound when a group of policemen allegedly entered a few steps inside the premises of the Congress headquarters located at Delhi's 24, Akbar Road and dragged out a party member.
Infuriated over the development, the party's top spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, conducted a special media briefing soon after the incident.
Surjewala alleged that the Delhi Police, at the instance of the Modi government, forcibly entered the national headquarters of Congress in Delhi and thrashed the party workers. "This is blatantly criminal trespass. The goondaism has reached its zenith. We are protesting in a democratic way but this goondaism will not be tolerated. It will be accounted for. Let all the police officers who are acting as puppets of the Modi government in order to please their masters know this will not go unpunished, we will remember and a suitable action both civil and criminal will be taken," he said.
He also demanded that an FIR be lodged against all officers of Delhi police who have committed criminal trespass by forcibly entering the headquarters of INC. "We demand their suspension and an inquiry into the matter."
Denying all such allegations, the Delhi Police said that it is "untrue and false" news and no such incident took place.
"There was a minor fracas outside the Congress headquarters when some people who came outside on the road threw barricades at the police. Police lathi charging or barging inside AICC HQ is utterly wrong. No such thing happened," Special Commissioner of Police, Law & Order Division, Dr. Sagar Preet Hooda said.
Hooda alleged that for the past two days of Rahul Gandhi's appearance before the ED, various Congress leaders and workers have again and again tried to create public disturbances in the area in utter disregard to Supreme Court guidelines and police's written communication that such processions are allowed only at designated areas like Jantar Mantar. "Today also, some leaders and workers of INC tried to take out procession from the party office... Some of the party workers pushed and manhandled the police personnel on duty and damaged police barricades which led to disorder," the Special CP said.
Speaking on the total detentions, Hooda informed that 240 Congress workers were detained under section 65 of the Delhi Police Act for violation of lawful directions of police, including 4 Members of Lok Sabha and 1 Member of Rajya Sabha.
He further said that some police personnel also sustained injuries during the mob control exercise but they maintained utmost restraint and preserved peace by effectively controlling the situation. "Few miscreants also burnt some tyres near Q point which created panic among the public and caused traffic jams on the busy road. Suitable legal action is being taken for such illegal acts of the party leaders and supporters by forming an unlawful assembly," he added.
The Congress party also filed an official complaint at Tughlak Road Police Station against the Delhi Police officials who manhandled the partymen during the protest today.
A delegation of senior leaders including Avinash Pande, Harish Choudhary, Pranav Jha and Challa Vamshi Reddy met with the ACP and Station House Officer (SHO) and presented a detailed written complaint highlighting the alleged illegal actions of Delhi police officials in allegedly entering party HQ and attacking workers.
Meanwhile, it was officially learnt that Rahul Gandhi will not be questioned by the agency on Thursday. "He has been given a day's rest," a source at the ED said.