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BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Saturday claimed in a Delhi court that a Rs 413-crore fine was recently slapped on Young Indian Private Limited by the Income Tax (I-T) Department in connection with the National Herald case filed by him against Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
The matter was listed on Friday for pre-charge evidence when Swamy submitted his new set of documents — an Income Tax assessment order — in a sealed cover to Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Ambika Singh. The court, however, is yet to take the documents on record.
“I buy eight newspapers daily and Friday morning I found I-T assessment documents dated December 27, 2017 in an envelope where they had slapped a fine of Rs 413 crore on Gandhis for withholding transactions and the Gandhis have been informed about it… I-T took notice of my plea and they had launched their proceedings,” Swamy submitted before the MM. He wanted to place the document on record, but the defence counsel objected.
Defence counsel Rebecca John said, “This cannot be filed.” Defence counsel R S Cheema said the document that Swamy wants to submit is not a legal document as it is not in the form of an affidavit and that there are no witnesses. He said, “These documents are unauthorised… Also, how is Swamy in possession of such document?” To this Swami argued, “Why should they (counsels for the accused) object if they have nothing to hide?”
Swamy then wanted to read a paragraph from the I-T assessment report, but the defence counsel vehemently objected. The court then ordered that the documents be kept in a sealed cover until further orders.
The issue relates to National Herald, published by Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), which went out of the print in 2008, when it had a debt of Rs 90 crore. This was given as a loan by the Congress to run the newspaper. A few months later, the ownership of AJL was transferred to a company called Young Indian, in which majority shares are owned by Rahul and Sonia, for Rs 50 lakh. Young Indian took ownership of the debt of Rs 90 crore as well as the real estate properties at various places worth at least Rs 5,000 crore. Swamy had alleged that the loan given to AJL was “illegal” as it had been taken from party funds. Also, that Young Indian had complete ownership by paying just Rs 50 lakh.
On Saturday, Swamy also brought up another issue relating to the documents regarding certain transactions already filed in the court, whose authenticity was challenged by the counsel for the accused. He said, “Either admit or deny.” The counsel replied, “We will neither admit nor deny as the records are incomplete, and are photocopies…”