Was arrested in an illegal manner: Congress leader Pawan Khera

Following his dramatic arrest at the Delhi airport, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was granted interim bail and expressed faith in the judiciary

NEW DELHI | Updated: 23 February, 2023 11:38 pm IST
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera

Congress leader Pawan Khera, who was given interim bail by the Delhi court after his dramatic arrest by Assam Police from Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, said that he was deboarded and arrested in an illegal manner.

After being granted interim bail from a Dwarka Court in New Delhi, Kera said, “Without furnishing a copy of the FIR and notice, I was deboarded from the aircraft and illegally arrested by the Assam Police.”

He further said that he has “complete trust in the judicial system, which protected my freedom of expression today”.

The Dwarka Court granted interim bail to the Congress leader after the Supreme Court, earlier in the day, directed Khera’s release over the alleged controversial statement on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s father.

Congress General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal also slammed the government. “A group of Congress leaders were travelling on Indigo Flight No. 6E 204 from Delhi to Raipur for the party’s 85th Preliminary Session,” Venugopal said about the dramatic events that highlighted the day.

“After we boarded, Khera was deplaned and informed that he would be arrested by the Assam Police. Without providing any copy of the FIR, an arrest warrant, or a production warrant from the concerned magistrate, the Delhi Police detained Khera,” he said.

“Khera was arrested on totally baseless charges, which were only trumped up because the Prime Minister is scared of being questioned on his relationship with businessman Gautam Adani,” Venugopal said.

He thanked the Supreme Court for being the voice of reason in these testing times.

“This charade is not going to deter us from raising questions about how the central 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,” Venugopal said, taking a potshot at the central government over the US-based Hindenburg Research report on the Adani Group.

Hitting out at the government, Venugopal said, “Khera’s arrest was arbitrary and dictatorial and yet another cowardly attempt to derail the 85th AICC Plenary being held in Raipur.”

“However, the BJP is misguided if it believes that such laughable intimidation tactics are going to dissuade us from exposing its corruption and misgovernance,” the Congress leader said.

He further said that Khera is one of the most articulate voices in Congress and has consistently opposed and questioned the flawed policies and divisive agenda of the central government.

“We stand with Khera and strongly denounce the highhandedness of the government,” Venugopal said.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh dubbed police action against Khera a new example of the government’s politics of “vendetta, harassment and intimidation”.

He hailed the apex court’s grant of interim bail to Khera and invoked the title of a Salman Khan film (Tiger Zinda Hai) to say that the “Supreme Court Zinda Hai”.

“The government was worried due to Congress’s successful Bharat Jodo Yatra. It is scared of the 85th plenary session of the Grand Old Party, which will start on Friday,” he said at the venue of the plenary session in Nava Raipur.

Khera was dramatically deplaned from an Indigo flight to Raipur from Delhi Airport.

He was arrested in connection with a case registered against him at Haflong police station in the Dima Hasao district of Assam under various sections of the IPC, including 153A (disturbing religious harmony), 153 B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national interest), 500 (punishment for defamation) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), for his alleged remarks against the Prime Minister.

Khera drew sharp reactions from the BJP for allegedly making a distasteful remark against PM Modi’s father Damodar Das. Khera had referred to the PM as Narendra ‘Gautam Das’ Modi.

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