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National Herald case: Rahul questioned for 3rd day, to appear before ED on Friday

Sources said Rahul Gandhi is being questioned about the ownership of Young Indian (YI) by the Gandhi family and its shareholding in Associate Journals Limited (AJL), the company that runs the National Herald newspaper.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: June 16, 2022 1:49:03 am
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi arrives at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office after lunch break for questioning in the National Herald case, in New Delhi. (PTI)

After questioning Rahul Gandhi for three straight days in connection with the National Herald case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday called the Congress leader for questioning again on Friday.

On Wednesday, too, Rahul was questioned for nearly 10 hours. Sources said he was asked to come again on Thursday, but he sought exemption and was thus called on Friday.

Sources said Rahul is being questioned about the ownership of Young Indian (YI) by the Nehru-Gandhi family and its shareholding in Associate Journals Limited (AJL), the company that runs the National Herald newspaper. He is being questioned about the circumstances under which AJL was acquired by Young Indian in 2010 for a “pittance”, making it in turn the owner of all assets owned by the National Herald newspaper.

A certain loan of Rs 1 crore by Dotex Merchandise, a company owned by the RPG Group, to Young Indian is also under probe by the agency, as it was used by YI to take control of AJL.

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Rahul’s mother, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, is scheduled to appear before the ED later this month. Rahul had earlier been called for questioning on June 2, while Sonia had been asked to appear before the agency on June 8. Both had then sought more time from the agency.

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The ED case is based on a trial court order that allowed the Income Tax Department to probe the affairs of National Herald newspaper and conduct tax assessment of Sonia and Rahul. The order was the result of a petition filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.

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Swamy’s complaint had alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds on part of the Gandhis in acquiring the newspaper. Swami had alleged that the Gandhis acquired properties owned by National Herald by buying the newspaper’s erstwhile publishers, AJL, through an organisation called Young Indian, in which they have 86-per cent stake.

The trial court had, on December 19, 2015, granted bail to Sonia and Rahul in the case.

In Swamy’s complaint before the trial court, Sonia, Rahul and others have been accused of misappropriating funds by paying Rs 50 lakh for Young Indian to obtain the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that AJL owed to the Congress.

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It was alleged that YI, which was incorporated in November 2010 with a capital of Rs 50 lakh, had acquired almost all shareholding of AJL, which ran National Herald. The I-T department had claimed that the shares owned by Rahul in YI would lead him to have an income of Rs 154 crore, and not about Rs 68 lakh, as was assessed earlier. The I-T department has already issued a demand notice for Rs 249.15 crore to YI for assessment year 2011-12.

Adhir writes to Speaker

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Wednesday wrote to Speaker Om Birla and stated that party MP Rahul Gandhi has been “undergoing inexplicable tormentation for three consecutive days by the Enforcement directorate of India” and sought his interventio

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First published on: 15-06-2022 at 09:09:20 pm
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