New Delhi, Jul 21 (EFE).- Indian opposition leader Sonia Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress Party, on Thursday appeared before a government agency in a corruption case linked to money laundering charges, even as her supporters staged demonstrations across the country to protest supposed political persecution.
The lawmaker and head of India’s most prominent political dynasty, Gandhi was accompanied by her children Rahul and Priyanka to the headquarters of the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi, with local broadcasters airing live footage of the appearance.
The leader was summoned to record her statement over managing the debt of National Herald, a daily founded in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru – the grandfather of Sonia’s husband Rajiv Gandhi – who went on to become independent India’s first prime minister in 1947.
Rahul and Sonia Gandhi, along with four other people, were in 2015 charged with alleged embezzlement of funds over a private complained filed in 2013 by Subramanian Swamy, a popular politician of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
Swamy had alleged that the Congress party had acquired the right to manage assets worth $332 million by spending around $83,000 to take over the debts of the entity running the newspaper.
As Sonia Gandhi was questioned by the ED on Thursday, Congress supporters held protests in different parts of the country, including the capital and the western financial hub of Mumbai.
“The Modi government has unleashed a relentless campaign of vendetta against its political opponents and critics through the mischievous use of investigative agencies,” the Congress said in a statement signed by many other opposition parties.
“Prominent leaders of a number of political parties have been deliberately targeted and subjected to harassment in an unprecedented manner,” it added, a month after Rahul Gandhi was forced to testify in the same case.
Meanwhile BJP leader and former minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a press conference that protests by the Congress were “a perversion of the country’s laws and institutions,” and stressed that “Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are on bail in this matter. They are also accused of fraud.” EFE