Congress irate as cops ask questions about Rahul Gandhi

The Congress party was irate after a Delhi Police team visited its headquarters in New Delhi to make queries about party vice-president Rahul Gandhi's physical features. The party said today it would take up the issue in Parliament.

The policemen visited the Congress office last week and inquired about Rahul's looks including the colour of his eyes and his hair. The Delhi Police later said that it was not done in connection with any questioning, but was a routine safety survey.

However, when an explanation for the questions was sought from one of the visiting cops, he had none to offer. Sources said Rahul's office managers took a picture of the policeman before he left.

The unsolicited visit has left the Congress leadership intrigued and suspicious of the motive behind such an investigation.

"If at all there was a need to know his features or get his photograph, he is an MP. It can be had from the internet or a website. All his records are also available in parliament," a senior party member said.

The Congress is likely to lodge a protest with the Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi.

Terming the reports that Rahul Gandhi has extended his sabbatical as "canards of vested interests", Congress party had on Thursday appealed to people to respect his privacy. Sources in the party said he will be back after 20 March, when the first half of parliament's Budget session ends.

As the news surfaced, the union ministry of home affairs asked for a report from the Delhi Police in this regard.

Talking to reporters, Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi alleged political espionage behind Delhi Police making "unwarranted and weird enquiries" about Gandhi.

Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was once embroiled in a controversy over allegedly ordering illegal monitoring of a young woman in Gujarat in 2009 by senior police officials, Singh said, "This kind of snooping, surveillance and intrusion in political opponent's life may be the Gujarat model but it is not the Indian model."

Talking about the controversy, Singhvi said a few days ago, Shamsher Singh, an Assistant Sub-Inspector, Delhi Police, was found snooping near the residence of the Congress vice president.

''(The) ASI was trying to fill up a pro forma in which he was trying to gather information about Rahul Gandhi,'' he said.

He demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the issue.

Police said such surveys are conducted at all protected persons' offices from time to time and no personal questions were asked.

Notably, Gandhi took off on a ''leave of introspection'' on the eve of the crucial budget session, which he extended this week.

There is speculation in the party that Gandhi could replace his mother Sonia as the party president during the All India Congress Committee (AICC) session likely to be held in the middle of April.