The Income-Tax department has dispatched notices to Young Indian and Associated Journal Ltd, the erstwhile publisher of National Herald, which is in the midst of a controversy involving the taking over of the company and its assets by Young Indian — a newly formed company controlled by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
The missives from the I-T authorities — sent earlier this week — are being described as “routine notices’’ and have asked Young Indian and Associated Journals to provide details of all their creditors, debtors and investors. The intention evidently is to get specifics of the Rs 90-crore interest-free loan given by the Congress party to Young Indian in 2010-11, sources added.
However, since the notices have only been dispatched to Young Indian and Associated Journal, the action is being seen as a temporary reprieve to the Gandhi scions and the Congress party. As an I-T official put it, “Based on the replies furnished by Associated Journals Ltd, I-T will decide whether and when to send notices to the Congress party and its leaders.”
The genesis of the controversy has its roots in 2010, when Young Indian, a newly registered company with approximately 38 per cent ownership by Gandhi scions, with a Rs 90-crore loan from the Congress party, took over the debts of Associated Journals and transferred the shares to Young Indian.
The newly formed company thus acquired Associated Journals with assets pegged at Rs 2,000 crore and earned huge regular rental income.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had filed a PIL against the Gandhis and other Congress leaders for allegedly appropriating properties of Associated Journals and illegally acquiring a loan from a political party. On this PIL, the court has summoned the Gandhis and others in the case.
Swamy has also approached the Enforcement Directorate to investigate the matter under the money laundering Act.