Rahul questions urgency, process in preliminary reply to Delhi Police notice on his 'sexual assault on women' remark
Terming the Delhi Police action ''unprecedented'', Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Sunday questioned the process adopted by authorities and the sudden urgency in taking action 45 days after his ''women still being sexually assaulted'' remark made during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Sources said that in the 10-point preliminary reply to the Delhi Police's notice on Sunday, the Congress leader also sought 8-10 days to give a detailed response to the questions posed by the police over his January 30 remarks.
Gandhi wondered whether the action had anything to do with his position taken both inside and outside Parliament on the Adani issue, the sources said.
He asked whether campaigns of other political parties, including the ruling BJP, have been subjected to such kind of scrutiny or questioning, they added.
The response came hours after the Delhi Police team headed by Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Sagar Preet Hooda arrived at Gandhi's 12, Tughlaq Lane, residence around 10 am and was able to meet him after two hours. The team left his residence around 1 pm, officials said.
The police, the sources said, had earlier gone to his residence to seek the Congress leader's response to the questionnaire on March 15 but could not meet him and then again visited him on March 16, when Gandhi sought time of around a week to 10 days to respond.
According to the police, Gandhi stated in Srinagar during the Bharat Jodo Yatra that ''I have heard that women are still being sexually assaulted'', and since the yatra had passed through Delhi also, they wanted to ascertain if any victim had approached the Congress leader here so that they can initiate a probe into the matter.
''The police had asked him to give details of these victims so that security could be provided to them,'' an official said.
On the preliminary reply sent a little before 4 pm, Gandhi termed the police action ''unprecedented'' and asked whether this had anything to do with his position taken both inside and outside Parliament on the Adani issue, sources said.
''I hope and trust that it has nothing to do of me being the centre of special attention both inside and outside of Parliament, including on Adani issue, by the ruling dispensation in the last few weeks,'' Gandhi said, the sources told PTI. The reply was sent to the Special Commissioner of Delhi Police, Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi and ACPs of Karol Bagh and Barakhamba Road in New Delhi, who had come calling at Gandhi's residence on Sunday morning.
Gandhi sought eight to 10 days to respond to the questions asked by the police.
''What is the urgency of making two visits within a span of two days, after a gap of 45 days of my speech,'' Gandhi also reportedly said in his response.
The former Congress chief in his initial response, the sources add, has not given a reply on the substance but on the process and procedure adopted by the police in the case.
Gandhi, the sources said, also asked what was the urgency on the part of the Delhi Police in making two visits in as many days after an initial gap of 45 days after he made his speech in Srinagar.
He reportedly referred to the conversation he had with the police team during their March 16 visit to his residence and asked that when they had agreed that he will respond after a week to 10 days, what was the need to return within two days.
He said during his yatra which covered 3,500 km and traversed through 12 states and two Union territories in 140 days, during which he met lakhs of people and it will take time to respond to the police notice as he could not respond in a day's time.
An angry Congress condemned the Delhi Police action and attacked the central government, calling it the ''worst case of harassment and political vendetta'', but the BJP rejected the charge and said the police was ''only discharging its lawful duty''.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said all this ''tamasha'' was being done only to harrass Rahul Gandhi and he or the party would not be cowed down by such things.
Addressing a joint press conference at the AICC headquarters here, party leaders Ashok Gehlot, Jairam Ramesh and Abhishek Singhvi said the move was a clear case of ''vendetta, intimidation and harassment'' in order to create an atmosphere against the former Congress chief. Gehlot asserted that the central dispensation was setting a bad example by registering cases on statements of opposition leaders made during political campaigns, adding that the BJP leaders could face similar action over remarks made in states not ruled by it.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said Gandhi should provide the information sought by the police so that the victims can get justice.
He said the police should have information about incidents claimed by Gandhi and that is why the Delhi Police has followed the legal procedure to meet the Congress leader for details.
He took a swipe at the Congress, saying the party is now crying that ''democracy is in danger'' over the lawful action by the police.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)