NEW DELHI: Tightening its noose around the Gandhi family, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and his son Rahul Gandhi in connection with the National Herald case, sources said on Wednesday.
According to senior ED officials, the Gandhis have been asked to appear before it on June 8.
This is the first summons issued to the Gandhi family members.
The probe in the National Herald corruption case – linked to the Congress and the Gandhi family – has been going on for years. The National Herald was started by former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and was published by the Associated Journal Limited (AJL).
In 2010, AJL was taken over by a newly-floated company called Young Indian Private Limited (YIL) with Rahul Gandhi as one of its directors and Gandhi family loyalists Suman Dubey and technocrat Sam Pitroda as directors.
BJP’s Subramanian Swamy 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.
Swamy also alleged that YIL had paid Rs 50 lakh to obtain the rights to recover Rs 90.25 crore which AJL owed the Congress party. The amount was given as a loan to start the newspaper. He also alleged that the loan given to AJL was “illegal”, as it had been taken from party funds.
In 2014, the ED initiated a probe to see if there was any money laundering in the case. On September 18, 2015, the case was reopened by the ED.
It is pertinent to note that in 2020, the ED had attached one of the most prime properties in Mumbai’s Bandra under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The said property, with market value to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees, was illegally allotted to AJL.
Seven accused in the case – veteran Congress leader Motilal Vora, AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda, YI and the Gandhis – have all denied accusations against them.
Earlier this year in April, the ED questioned senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal.