ED summons Sonia, Rahul in National Herald money laundering case
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday summoned Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her MP son Rahul Gandhi for questioning in a money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper, officials said.
While Sonia Gandhi, 75, has been asked to depose before the federal agency at its headquarters in central Delhi on June 8, Rahul Gandhi has been asked to appear on Thursday (June 2).
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi told at a press conference that Sonia Gandhi will comply with the summons.
Rahul Gandhi, 51, has written to the probe agency to postpone the date to after June 5 as he is not in the country, Singhvi and another Congress leader Randeep Surjewala told reporters.
“The Modi government should know that by registering such fake and fabricated cases, they cannot succeed in their cowardly conspiracy,” Singhvi said.
The case to probe alleged financial irregularities in the party-promoted Young Indian that owns the National Herald newspaper was registered recently.
The agency, officials said, wants to record the statements of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The National Herald is published by Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and owned by Young Indian Pvt Limited.
The agency recently questioned senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal as part of the investigation.
The questioning of the senior Congress leaders and the Gandhis is part of the ED’s investigation to understand the shareholding pattern, financial transactions and role of the promoters of Young Indian and AJL, officials said.
The agency registered a fresh case under the criminal provisions of the PMLA after a trial court here took cognisance of an Income Tax Department probe against Young Indian Pvt Ltd on the basis of a private criminal complaint filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.
The members of the first family of the Congress party, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, are among the promoters and shareholders of Young Indian.
After the ED examined Kharge last month, the Congress’ whip in Lok Sabha Manickam Tagore accused the government of “harassing” him.
BJP MP Swamy had accused Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds with Young Indian Pvt Ltd paying only Rs 50 lakh to obtain the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that Associate Journals Ltd owed to the Congress.
The Delhi High Court in February last year issued a notice to the Gandhis for their response on Swamy’s plea seeking to lead evidence in the matter before the trial court.
The Gandhi’s had secured separate bails from the court in 2015 after they furnished personal bonds of Rs 50,000 and one surety.
They, however, contended in the Delhi High Court that the plea by Swamy was “misconceived and premature”.
The other accused in this case filed by Swamy are Suman Dubey and technocrat Sam Pitroda. They have earlier said that they did nothing wrong.