New Delhi: Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi have been sent notices by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday in relation to an alleged money laundering case related to the National Herald case.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said in a press conference that the mother-son duo have been asked by the ED to present themselves on June 8.
“Sonia Gandhi will go for sure, but Rahul is abroad. If he is back by then, he will appear before the agency on the scheduled date. If not, he will seek some time,” Singhvi said.
Meanwhile, the National Herald case dates back 10 years to 2012 when BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy filed a complaint of money laundering against Congress leaders. He also alleged that Associated Journals Ltd. was acquired by Young India Ltd in a malicious way.
He claimed that YIL “took over” the assets of the defunct print media outlet in a “malicious” manner to gain profit and assets worth over Rs 2,000 crore.
What Is AJL?
Associated Journal Ltd. or AJL was founded by Jawahar Lal Nehru and other freedom fighters in 1938. AJL published three newspapers in English, Hindi, and Urdu. while it was meant to raise the voice of liberals during the freedom struggle, National Herald became a mouthpiece of Congress after independence.
In 2008, the paper was closed down by AJL after incurring a loss of nearly Rs 90 crore. Following this, it was taken over by YIL in 2010 whose director was named Rahul Gandhi.
In 2016, the three dailies were relaunched naming the National Herald in English, Navjeevan in Hindi, and Quami Awaz in Urdu.
The National Herald Case
2012- When filing the complaint, Subramaniam Swamy said that the take over of AJL by YIL was “illegal”. The 76 percent shares of the company were with Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, and the remaining 24 percent were with other Congress leaders namely Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes.
After Swamy’s case, the shareholders of AJL including former law minister Shanti Bhushan and former chief justice of Allahabad and Madras High Courts Markandey Katju alleged that they were not served any notice regarding YIL’s take over of AJL adding that their shares inherited from their fathers were transferred without consent.
Timeline Of The Case
2012- Criminal Case filed by Subramaniam Swamy against the Gandhis
2014- Magistrate summons Gandhis based on prima facie evidence and a probe is launched by ED.
2015- ED probe reopened, and a few months later, Patiala High Court grants bail to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
April 2019- Supreme Court puts a stay on Delhi HC’s order to vacate Herald house that has National Herald office.
2020- ED attached property valued at Rs 16.38 crore in connection to the money laundering case.
2021- Subramaniam Swamy moved Delhi HC against the trial court’s order declining his plea to prosecute Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
2022- The Delhi Bench of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has allowed an appeal filed by the directors of Young Indian, including Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, against the Income Tax assessment of the properties of Associated Journals Ltd in the National Herald case.
April 2022- ED recorded statements of senior Congress leaders and summons Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for interrogation.