New Delhi, June 1
The Enforcement Directorate has summoned Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald money-laundering case.
Congress media chief Randeep Surjewala said Sonia had received summons for June 8 and would appear before the probe agency for questioning.
Rahul has received summons for Thursday. Being abroad currently, Rahul had sought an extension to appear on any day after June 5, said Surjewala.
Both received summons over the past 48 hours.
Lawyer and Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said the Gandhis are determined to answer the summons and the case had no basis.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has refuted the allegations, calling ED notice a political vendetta.
The Vishwaguru of Vendetta has hit a new low with the issue of ED notice to Smt.Sonia Gandhi & Shri.Rahul Gandhi today. It is a completely bogus money laundering case foisted on them with neither money flow nor any laundering. Truth will triumph. We will not be silenced!— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) June 1, 2022
Senior congress leader Jayram Ramesh has refuted the allegation, calling it political vendetta.
Surjewala, meanwhile, said the ruling BJP is insulting the memory of freedom fighters by targeting the National Herald.
In 2012, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had moved court, alleging that Congress leaders were involved in breach of trust through acquisition of Associated Journals by a company called Young India which “took over Herald assets”.
Swamy alleged money-laundering in the case.
The Gandhis have denied charges saying the party gave money to National Herald through cheques. In lieu of the money, Associated Journals, publishers of Herald, gave shares to the Congress which the party didn’t take; the party instead formed a non-profit firm Young India and took equity in that, it was said.
“Young India is a non-profit firm. So what’s the predicate offence here?” asked Surjewala, adding that even the BJP and communist parties had been giving money to party journals and newspapers.
National Herald was set up by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938. In 1937, Nehru formed Associated Journals with 5,000 shareholders. The firm didn’t belong to any person. It published National Herald in English, Qaumi Aawaz in Urdu and Navjeevan in Hindi.
In 2010, Young India was set up with Rahul Gandhi as director. Sonia and Rahul are said to hold 76 per cent shares in the firm which does not have any commercial operations.
The remaining shares are held by late Congress leaders Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes, both named by Swamy in the case.
In 2010, AJL had 1,057 shareholders. The journals incurred losses and its holdings were transferred to Young India in 2011.
Some AJL shareholders like Shanti Bhushan and former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju alleged that they were not served notices when Young India took over AJL and the shares their fathers held were transferred to Young India without their approval.
Swamy alleged YI took over AJL assets worth Rs 200 crore maliciously.
He alleged that YI paid Rs 50 lakh to get rights to recover Rs 90.25 crore AJL owed to the Congress Party.
The ED started a probe in 2014 to see if money-laundering took place in the case.
The Gandhis and other accused have been on bail from the trial court since December 19, 2015.
In 2016, the SC granted them exemption from personal appearance in the case but didn’t quash the proceedings.
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