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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

National Herald case: Fresh ED summons asks Rahul Gandhi to appear on June 13

The Congress had on Wednesday said that the ED summoned Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to appear before it on June 8, and had confirmed that Sonia would appear before the agency.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: June 3, 2022 1:41:56 pm
Media list Showing 81 of 2032929 media items Load more UPLOADING 1 / 1 – Rahul Gandhi ED National Herald.jpg ATTACHMENT DETAILS Rahul Gandhi ED National HeraldCongress leader Rahul Gandhi. (File photo)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued fresh summons to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi asking him to appear before the agency on June 13 in connection with a money laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper.

The Congress had on Wednesday said that the ED summoned its president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to appear before it on June 8. The party said the summons was received “just a few days ago” and Sonia would “100 per cent” appear before the ED. “If Rahul Gandhi is here … then he will also go. Otherwise, we will seek some time,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi. Rahul Gandhi is yet to return to the country after a trip to London.

Before summoning Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, the ED had questioned Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal. “Rahul Gandhi was earlier asked to appear on June 2, but he sought a fresh date as he was out of the country,” an official said.

The summons drew furious reactions from the Congress, which described the case as “weird” since “no money was involved” and said that the charges were “more hollow than a pack of cards”. “We will face them. We are not a bit scared or overawed or intimidated by such cheap tactics,” the party’s spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi had said at a press conference along with the party’s communication head Randeep Surjewala.

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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 the National Herald newspaper and conduct a tax assessment of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. The order was the result of a petition filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.

Swamy’s complaint had alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds by the Gandhis in acquiring the newspaper. Swamy had alleged that the Gandhis acquired properties owned by the National Herald by buying the newspaper’s erstwhile publishers AJL through an organisation called Young India in which they have 86 per cent stake. Sonia and Rahul were granted bail in the case by the trial court on December 19, 2015.

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 (YI) 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 the shareholding of AJL, which was running 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. It has already issued a demand notice for Rs 249.15 crore to YI for the assessment year 2011-12.

Earlier, ED had initiated a money-laundering probe against AJL in 2018 in connection with a plot allotted to it in Haryana’s Panchkula by then chief minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The ED had attached the plot, accusing the company of having acquired it “fraudulently”. Hooda is an accused in the money laundering case registered by the agency in the matter.

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First published on: 03-06-2022 at 12:06:22 pm
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