Cong mostly silent as Ahmed Patel fights lone battle in ED case

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 30, 2020 Published on June 30, 2020

Ahmed Patel, AICC Treasurer   -  PTI

The AICC treasurer was questioned for the second time by the ED in a money-laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned Ahmed Patel, AICC treasurer and key aid of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, for the second time in one week on Tuesday in connection with the Sterling Biotech Limited case, but the top Congress leadership hasn’t put up any notable defence so far.

ED officials told BusinessLine that there would be no comment on Ahmed’s questioning or the volume of money involved as it is part of an ongoing investigation. While ED officials’ reticence is procedural, it was the silence from the Congress camp that seemed conspicuous.

Except a one-line reference from senior leader Kapil Sibal at a press conference that the instance of the AICC Treasurer’s questioning is “yet another diversionary game played by the Narendra Modi Government”, no senior leaders or spokesman has unambiguously stated anything in Patel’s defence.

In sharp contrast, when former Finance Minister P Chidambaram was questioned and later kept in custody, the Congress put up a strident defence and blamed the vendetta politics of the Sangh parivar behind such moves. Chidambaram was invited to the AICC headquarters along with other senior leaders to address the press before he was arrested.

But Patel has had to put up a lone defence. On Saturday, when he was questioned by the ED at his official residence, he issued a statement saying “some guests from the Modi government had visited him”.

“If you were to do an analysis, you will see a clear pattern over the past many years. Every time there is Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha election or the government is facing a crisis, one or more investigative agencies become active on the instructions of one individual,” Patel said in the statement. “Unfortunately, this time the Modi government’s failure to manage a economic, health and national security crisis is now so huge, that none of the agencies can help spin the narrative. Rather than fighting the pandemic & China, this government is more keen to fight the Opposition. Nonetheless, our conscience is clear. We have nothing to hide, nor are we afraid to criticise & expose the government’s failures and their past corruption,” Patel said.

Published on June 30, 2020
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