Published: Published Date – 11:30 AM, Sun – 12 June 22
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate has summoned Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi on Monday and Sonia Gandhi on June 23. The Congress has decided to take on the ED politically as well as legally. On Sunday the party will hold a press conference and the party’s senior leaders will accompany Rahul Gandhi to the ED office.
This was decided at a meeting of state in-charges, general secretaries and state presidents on Thursday which was called to prepare for the second leg of the Jan Jagran Abhiyan, an agitation programme against inflation.
The party is mulling a suggestion that party MPs will also accompany former party president Rahul Gandhi to the Enforcement Directorate’s office and many MPs have already written to the party for it. The party thinks that the onslaught of agencies on the Congress can only be seen as a political move as the cases are politically motivated.
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi was to appear before the ED on Thursday but due to being infected by Covid she has sought more time and the ED has called her on June 23.
The case has been lodged against various Congress leaders, including the Gandhis, for allegedly misappropriating National Herald funds.
Terming the ED summons “politics of revenge,” Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala had said: “This is politics of vendetta and revenge by the BJP to target opposition leaders as they have done to other opponents in the country.”
“National Herald newspaper was started in 1942. At that time the British tried to close it, today the Modi government is also doing the same thing as the Britishers did. Now the ED is being used for this purpose…”
As there is no money involved in the case, Congress sources say that the case was closed in 2015.
The AJL was incorporated as a public limited company on November 20, 1937 under the Indian Companies Act, 1913, for the purpose of publication of newspapers in different languages. It started publishing newspapers such as “National Herald” in English, “Navjivan” in Hindi and “Quami Awaz” in Urdu.
The publication of the newspapers was suspended on various occasions due to financial difficulties and labour problems, and on April 2, 2008, the newspaper was shut down.
The properties were allotted for carrying out the newspaper business and publication of newspapers in different languages. However, it was also allowed to let out these properties on rent to cater to its publication business, post-closure of the newspaper.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi defended the Gandhis and said, “this is truly a very weird case, alleged case, a money laundering case, on which summons are issued with no money involved. I have yet to hear of this absolute acrobatics in imagination of creating summons in respect of allegations of money laundering, where no money is involved.”
The Congress said that the case pertains to Subramanian Swamy moving the court and from 2014-15, the ED has not thought it fit till today, because they know they have no material to seek summons to the Congress President or the former Congress President.
The AJL had a lot of financial problems over the decades. The Congress party stepped in and over a period of time gave Rs 90 odd crores as financial support at different times. So AJL became an indebted company, a company with debt. AJL converted its debt into equity.
“So, this debt of Rs 90 crore was assigned to a new company and you must note, what new company is, it is called Young India’, so that the books of AJL became debt free. Young India’ in turn, which received the debt, was a newly created company under a special provision of the Companies Act, Section 25, which has two very vital conditions and not for profit company. It has to be, by definition, by statute, by law and no dividends can be given to its shareholders and directors. So, you cannot create a company, where he and I are shareholders and we take Rs. 100, 50 each out of the company, you can’t take a penny. This is the nature of Section 25,” said Singhvi.