The Congress has sought action against Enforcement Directorate officials who 'selectively leaked' to some media houses information related to Rahul Gandhi's questioning, as the party also served a legal notice on three Union ministers over the issue.
In the notice to Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, the Congress MP and legal cell head Vivek Tankha has asked them to stop using the ED as a tool to settle political scores, and desist from 'spreading false narratives' about the former Congress chief.
The notice comes in the wake of media reports claiming that Gandhi has told the ED that he has no knowledge about the dealings of Young India with Associated Journals, which publishes the National Herald, and that it was done by the late party treasurer Motilal Vora.
The notice also calls upon the ministers to fix responsibility on such officers of the Enforcement Directorate who have resorted to such 'illegalities'.
"This is a judicial proceeding and selective leaks by the ED to malign Rahul Gandhi's image is a criminal offence and an attempt to interfere with an ongoing judicial proceeding which is a second crime," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
"We have demanded that the responsibility of the ED officers be fixed and if not, the Congress party will be constrained to prosecute ED officers for fixation of officers and crimes by them," he told PTI.
The notice asks them to ensure the Enforcement Directorate immediately stops spreading 'false narratives about Rahul Gandhi for ulterior political motives and as a tool to settle political scores'.
'I also call upon you (the ministers) to fix responsibility on such officer of the Enforcement Directorate who has resorted to such illegalities by causing the leaks,' Tankha said in his notice.
Explaining why he served the legal notice on the ministers, Tankha said the ED is clearly acting at the 'behest of its political masters' and is carrying out political vendetta against Rahul Gandhi.
"It is appropriate (then) that this letter be addressed to the finance minister, the minister of law and the home minister jointly," he said.
"It is deplorable that the Enforcement Directorate is being used as a tool of political vendetta against Rahul Gandhi, the former president of the Congress, which happens to the principal opposition party to the BJP," the notice said.
He said the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi will never bow down to this kind of abuse of process and threats, and will fight to protect the constitution and the freedoms enshrined in it till the last breath.
Political battles have to be fought between political parties and using the Enforcement Directorate to settle political scores and harass the opposition leadership is an assault on the Constitution, Tankha said in his notice.
The entire country knows that Rahul Gandhi is being summoned at this juncture as he is the most vociferous and credible voice against the BJP, he noted, adding that 'the case that has been foisted is utterly hopeless and has no basis in law'.
It appears the Enforcement Directorate is selectively divulging false information at the behest of its political masters to certain media houses in order to create a completely false political narrative with mala fide motive and to misrepresent the actual facts as to what transpired before the ED during the questioning, he said.
'If the government is allowing this, it is complicit in this exercise and this is happening at its behest,' the notice alleges.
Trashing reports that Gandhi is not cooperating the with the probe agency, Tankha asked under what law the ED is authorised to leak what has transpired during the investigation.
'I believe that because it is clear by now that there is no criminality involved and that eventually Enforcement Directorate's case will collapse, therefore there is a deliberate attempt on the Enforcement Directorate's part to create a false political narrative.
'That the ED should be used to muzzle the voice of the opposition is a grave threat to democracy itself,' the Rajya Sabha MP said in his notice.
Citing recent court orders over media coverage to create sensationalism through leaked information, Tankha said the government should show respect for courts and the law.
The Enforcement Directorate and the government should stop this charade and sham investigation, he said.