NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
on Wednesday said the Enforcement Directorate officers who questioned him about the alleged money laundering in the National Herald case, were impressed with the patience with which he handled questions put to him. So much so that they asked him about the secret of his stamina.
ED sources, however, have disputed the version. "The fact is that he avoided replies to almost 20% of the questions put to him by saying that he was feeling too tired", said sources in the agency when asked about Rahul's claim.
The former party chief's assertion ties into the narrative that Congress has tried to create over his questioning by ED, projecting it as case of harassment and his boldness in standing up to it. Party workers have staged protests on all the five days Rahul appeared at ED headquarters, beginning June 13. On Wednesday, he said his training as a Congress worker and in Vipasana helped him calmly deal with the questioning.
However, sources in the ED, whose summons to Rahul and his mother Sonia have been seen as the agency's determination to apply rules irrespective of the stature of the accused and others considered crucial for investigation, as well as defiance of Congress' high-voltage protests, have a different story to tell. They also questioned the account of Rahul being kept at the agency's headquarters for long on five days.
They said Rahul's long hours with the investigators were necessitated because he would take time to review the answers that he provided. "He took long to go through his own replies and it is the reviews which accounted for the longer part of the session each day." Rahul arrived everyday at around 11 in the morning at ED office and left around 11pm with a one hour lunch break, during which he was allowed to go back to his residence
Sources also said it was ironical on the part of Congress to publicise Rahul's claims about his questioning by ED, considering the party earlier sent a legal notice to the home minister, the finance minister and the law minister, accusing the agency of committing the ' criminal offence" of leaking details of the questioning. The ED is probing the transactions between YI and Congress, which was the owner of AJL before its 100% shareholding was transferred to YI in lieu of Rs 50 lakh. This amount was considered by Congress as payment of Rs 90 crore debt AJL owed to Congress.