New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is set to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning on Monday in connection with a money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper. Congress party is planning a big event to show its strength and convey its political message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government.
Both Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her MP son Rahul Gandhi have been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection to the National Herald case.
The National Herald case pertains to the probe into the alleged financial irregularities in the party-promoted Young Indian that owns the National Herald newspaper, founded by Jawaharlal Nehru, the great-grandfather of Mr Gandhi. The paper is published by Associated Journals Limited. Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia are alleged to have been involved in a ‘cheating and breach of trust’ when Associated Journals Ltd was acquired by Young India Pvt Ltd in which the Gandhis held a majority stake.
Here is a brief timeline of the National Herald case:
2008: The National Herald newspaper, launched by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938, shut down with a whopping debt of over Rs 90 crore. To save the dying newspaper, the then-ruling party Congress offered a Rs 90-crore interest-free loan to the Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) to aid the newspaper in revival. However, the attempt to bring back the newspaper failed and the debt couldn’t be repaid.
2010: Young India Ltd (YIL) was set up in November in which Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi held a majority share of 76%. Motilal Vora held 24% and Oscar Fernandez held 12% of the shares in the company. The Congress who had originally lent money to Associated Journals Ltd assigned the debt to Young India Ltd which meant that AJL had to pay back Rs 90 crore to YIL.
Since AJL was not in a position to repay the loans, the company transferred its shareholding to Gandhi-owned YIL for which they received Rs 50 lakh. The Gandhis are charged with taking over a publicly-held company by merely paying Rs 50 lakh considering the company had real estate properties worth Rs 2000 crore.
2012: Former Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy had filed a case against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi for cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring the ownership of the non-functioning newspaper National Herald.
2014: Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha summons all accused in the case, including the Gandhis. In August, ED begins a probe into a money-laundering angle in the case.
2015: ED reopens the investigation on the National Herald case. In December, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are granted bail by Patiala House Court.
2016: The apex court grants exemption to all five accused in the case – Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey from appearing in court but doesn’t quash proceedings against them.
2017: Delhi High Court allows Income Tax Department to investigate the alleged misappropriation of funds in the case.
2018: AJL instructed to evict Herald House premises by Centre.
2019: The ED attaches a Gurugram property worth Rs 64.93 crores under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) which they claimed was illegally allotted to AJL.
2020: Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were again taken to court in Delhi after Subramaniam Swamy filed a case accusing them of misappropriating the National Herald’s properties.
2022: In April, the ED questioned senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge in connection with the case. On June 1, the ED summoned interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi in connection with the National Herald case.
June 13: Rahul Gandhi is set to appear before the ED in connection with the case today.