New Delhi, June 1 (agency)
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday summoned Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi for questioning in a money laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper. Sonia Gandhi (75) has been asked by the ED to appear at its headquarters in central Delhi on June 8, while Rahul Gandhi has been called on June 2. Congress leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Randeep Surjewala said in a press conference that Sonia Gandhi will obey the summons. Rahul Gandhi (51) has written to the investigating agency to postpone the date of his appearance till June 5, as he is not in the country. “The Modi government should know that by registering such fake and fabricated cases, it cannot succeed in its heinous and cowardly conspiracy,” Singhvi said.
ED officials said the agency wants to record the statements of Sonia and Rahul under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The case was registered recently in connection with the probe into alleged financial irregularities in the party-backed ‘Young Indian’. The newspaper ‘National Herald’ is published by Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and is owned by Young Indian Private Limited. Sonia and Rahul are among the promoters and shareholders of Young Indian. The ED had also recently questioned Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal. The agency had registered a fresh case after a trial court here took cognizance of an income tax probe against Young Indian.
Got bail in 2015: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had lodged a complaint in this regard in 2013. He had accused Sonia, Rahul and others of fraud and embezzlement of funds of Young Indian Pvt Ltd. In February last year, the Delhi High Court had issued notices to Sonia, Rahul for their reply on Swamy’s petition. Sonia, Rahul had secured bail from the court in 2015 after separately paying a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and one surety of like amount.
Cowardly Conspiracy: Congress Chief Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “The Modi government, which is adept at diverting the issues day by day to mislead the country, has become blind in the spirit of revenge. The government has hatched a cowardly conspiracy. Clearly the dictator is scared.
If there is no transaction then how is money laundering: Congress
Congress spokesperson and senior advocate Abhishek Manusinghvi said, “Associated Journals Limited (AJL), a company that runs the National Herald newspaper, established in 1937, was paid 90 crores by the Congress for the payment of its dues by check in about 10 years and in about 100 installments. Gave an amount of Rs. Out of this, an amount of Rs 67 crore was used by National Herald to pay dues to its employees and the rest was spent on electricity payment, rent and building etc. Loan given by political party is neither a crime nor illegal. National Herald was not able to repay the debt due to lack of income, so in lieu of this, the shares of AJL were given to ‘Young Indian’, which is a ‘non-profit’ company in law. That is, the members of its management committee cannot take profits, dividends, salaries or any financial benefits. Management cannot even sell its shares. How did money laundering happen when there was no transaction of money or property?’