New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the National Herald case.
According to senior ED officials, following summons issued by the ED, Kharge appeared before the financial probe agency sleuths around 11.05 am to record his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2022.
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 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 Suman Dubey and technocrat Sam Pitroda as directors, both Gandhi family loyalists.
BJP’s Subramanian Swamy claimed that YIL “took over” 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; it was given the amount earlier 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 and YI and the Gandhis — have all denied accusations against them.