Rahul Gandhi appears before ED in National Herald case, summoned again on Tuesday
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on his way to appear before the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald case, in New Delhi on Monday, June 13, 2022.IANS

Rahul Gandhi appears before ED in National Herald case, summoned again on Tuesday

New Delhi, June 13, 2022

Amidst protests by Congress members in Delhi and several other cities across India, senior party leader Rahul Gandhi appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald case and has been summoned by the agency for questioning again tomorrow.

With heavy security deployed in the national capital due to the Congress protests, Gandhi, accompanied by his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, reached the ED office located on Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Road at around 11.30 a.m. via Moti Lal Nehru Marg.

He was questioned by a team of senior ED officials for several hours till late this evening. He was given a lunch break after three hours, and he went to meet his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who is undergoing treatment at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, during this period.

After this, he returned to the ED's headquarters where he was again questioned till late in the night.

Rahul Gandhi was summoned to appear before the ED on June 2 but he had sought more time because he was abroad.

"Rahul Gandhi was summoned to appear before the probe agency on June 2 but he sought some more time to join the investigation as he was abroad," said an official.

The ED had then issued a second notice for June 13.

Gandhi was questioned about a few transactions made by Kolkata-based Dotex Merchandise Pvt Ltd.

"Dotex firm allegedly paid Rs 1 crore to Young Indian. This was a loan which they gave to YI in 2010. The loan given by Dotex Merchandise was never returned. YI was just incorporated when this loan was paid," said a source.

Sonia Gandhi has also been summoned in the matter.

As many as 459 Congress partymen, including 26 MPs and five legislators from different state Assemblies, were on Monday detained during Congress' protest march in the national capital against the summons issued to Rahul Gandhi.

"Fifteen members of Lok Sabha, including leader of opposition Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, 11 members of Rajya Sabha, including KC Venugopal and Mallikarjun Kharge, five MLAs of different state Assemblies and other functionaries/workers of the Congress were among the total 459 detained in New Delhi for not following lawful directions of police for maintenance of law & order," said Special Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, Sagar Singh Kalsi.

The Congress had planned to carry out a march in the wake of its leader Rahul Gandhi's appearance before the Enforcement Directorate's office on Monday.

The district police did not grant permission for the protest in view of the prevailing circumstances.

The Special CP said the Secretary, AICC, in a letter addressed to the police had categorically assured that the gathering will not accompany VIPs to the ED office but as soon as Rahul Gandhi left for the ED office, many Congress leaders along with workers and functionaries started proceeding along with him in the form of a procession.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury alleged that he was manhandled by the police.

Senior congress leader P. Chidambaram also alleged that he was manhandled by the cops.

"When three big, burly policemen crash into you, you are lucky to get away with a suspected hairline crack! Doctors have said that if there is a hairline crack, it will heal by itself in about 10 days. I am fine and I will go about my work tomorrow," Chidambaram tweeted.

Meanwhile, Congress leaders and party workers protested outside the ED office as their leader appeared for questioning.

The Delhi Police used mild force and forcibly removed the protesters who were stopped at least 1 km before the ED office.

The police had placed several barricades to close Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Road.

The Congress workers sat in front of the barricades and raised slogans in favour of their leader and against the present dispensation at the Centre.

The genesis of the controversy started with the acquisition of shares of Associated Journals Limited (AJL) on January 26, 2011.

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. AJL started publishing newspapers such as National Herald in English, Navjivan in Hindi and Quami Awaz in Urdu.

The publication was suspended on various occasions due to financial difficulties and certain labour problems.

On April 2, 2008, the newspaper was closed.

The properties were allotted for carrying out 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.

The office of AJL was shifted from Lucknow to Delhi on September 1, 2010 at its Delhi property situated at 5A, Herald House, Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, New Delhi.

In this chain of events, the All India Congress Committee (AICC), an apex body of the Indian National Congress, had advanced loans to AJL from time to time.

In other words, the AICC assigned the loan outstanding in the books of AJL at Rs 50,00,000 to Young Indian.

Further, almost 99.99 per cent shares of AJL were transferred to Young Indian.

On December 13, 2010, in the first Managing Committee meeting of Young Indian, Rahul Gandhi was appointed as director.

In a nutshell, the National Herald case pertains to the assignment of a Rs 90 crore loan advanced by the Congress party to Young Indian for a consideration of Rs 50 lakh.

It has been alleged that there was a misappropriation of assets of over Rs 2,000 crore.

NNN

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