RAIPUR: Congress on Thursday issued a strong statement condemning the arrest of its spokesperson Pawan Khera as ‘arbitrary, dictatorial and cowardly’ and said that the party will continue to corner Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his alleged links with industrialist Gautam Adani. “Pawan Khera’s arrest was arbitrary, dictatorial and yet another cowardly attempt to derail 85th AICC Plenary in Raipur…BJP is totally misguided if it believes that such laughable intimidation tactics are going to dissuade us from exposing its corruption and misgovernance,” party general secretary KC Venugopal said in a statement.
#Pawan_Khera‘s arrest was arbitrary&dictatorial&yet another cowardly attempt to derail 85th AICC Plenary in Raipur…BJP totally misguided if it believes that such laughable intimidation tactics are going to dissuade us from exposing its corruption & misgovernance: KC Venugopal pic.twitter.com/WzPPztLIOK
— ANI (@ANI) February 23, 2023
Further attacking the Centre, the main opposition party said that “Khera was arrested because Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scared of being questioned on his relationship with Gautam Adani.”
Ahead of the 85th AICC Plenary in Raipur, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the arrest of Khera and alleged that democracy and Constitution were under threat in the saffron party’s regime. He was talking to reporters at Swami Vivekanand Airport Raipur after his arrival here to attend the Congress’s 85th plenary session beginning Friday.
पहले ED ने रायपुर में छापामारी की, अब @Pawankhera को दिल्ली पुलिस द्वारा रायपुर के जहाज़ से उतारा गया है। तानाशाही का दूसरा नाम अमितशाही है।
मोदी सरकार हमारे राष्ट्रीय महाअधिवेशन को बाधित करना चाहती है। हम डरने वाले नहीं हैं, देशवासियों के लिए संघर्ष करते रहेंगे। pic.twitter.com/fpb5ni5hfd
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) February 23, 2023
“The BJP has been harassing our party leaders and workers, particularly our spokesperson Khera ji. Assam police arrested Khera ji. There is no such provision in the law. I am happy that the Supreme Court granted bail. It was a slap on BJP,” Kharge said. “It is totally condemnable the way they are doing these things. We are all going to Raipur for the plenary session, Pawan Khera was also travelling with us, suddenly they deplaned Pawan Khera without any valid reason,” Venugopal also earlier said.
मुझे कहा गया कि आपके सामान को लेकर कुछ समस्या है, जबकि मेरे पास केवल एक हैंडबैग है।
जब फ्लाइट से नीचे आया तो बताया गया कि आप नहीं जा सकते हैं। फिर कहा गया- आपसे DCP मिलेंगे।
मैं काफी देर से इंतजार कर रहा हूं। नियम, कानून और कारणों का कुछ अता-पता नहीं है।
: @Pawankhera जी pic.twitter.com/637WUlBDpJ
— Congress (@INCIndia) February 23, 2023
Later after reaching Raipur for the three-day plenary, starting Friday, Venugopal issued a statement and said Khera was arrested on totally “baseless charges, which were only trumped up because Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scared of being questioned on his relationship with Gautam Adani”. He thanked the Supreme Court for being the voice of reason in these testing times.
The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered to grant interim bail to Khera till February 28 in the case. “This charade is not going to deter us from raising questions about the manner in which the Modi government has systematically favoured the Adani group and is conspicuously silent on allegations of stock rigging, overvaluation and benami money being pushed through a web of shell companies against the Adani Group of companies,” he alleged.
“Khera’s arrest was arbitrary and dictatorial and yet another cowardly attempt to derail the 85th AICC Plenary being held in Raipur,” Venugopal alleged. The Enforcement Directorate raided Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh, clearly timed to “intimidate” the party’s Chhattisgarh unit during the crucial planning stage of the plenary, he said.
“However, the BJP is totally misguided if it believes that such laughable intimidation tactics are going to dissuade us from exposing its corruption and misgovernance,” he said. Venugopal said Khera is one of the most articulate voices of the party, who has consistently opposed and questioned the flawed policies and divisive agenda of the Modi government.
“We stand with Khera and strongly denounce the high-handedness of the government,” he said. The ‘Haath Se Haath Jodo’ plenary will give a new vision to the country and start the countdown for the end of BJP’s misrule at the Centre, Venugopal said. “We are all geared up for this historic occasion, and no force can stop us from our mission,” the Congress general secretary said.
Khera was on Thursday stopped at the Delhi airport from flying to Raipur to attend the party’s plenary session and was arrested soon after by the Assam Police in connection with an FIR over his alleged derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Supreme Court, however, provided him relief by releasing him on interim bail till February 28.