Rahul Gandhi reaches ED office amid Congress's protest rally
Indian National Congress MP Rahul Gandhi reached the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office in Delhi on Monday to depose in a money laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper. Gandhi was surrounded by hundreds of party workers, who marched to the ED office from Congress headquarters, despite the Delhi Police denying them permission for a protest march citing law and order issues on Sunday.
Why does this story matter?
- The high-profile case came to light in 2013 when BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed a complaint before a trial court.
- He accused top Congress leaders of cheating and breach of trust in the acquisition of Associated Journals Limited (AJL) by Young Indian (YI).
- The National Herald was a newspaper founded by Jawaharlal Nehru along with other freedom fighters in 1938.
Section 144 imposed around Congress headquarters
Congress workers staged a protest and sloganeered in Gandhi's support on Monday. The party headquarters at Delhi's Akbar Road reverberated with "Rahul Gandhi zindabad, zindabad" slogans. The Delhi Police imposed CrPC Section 144 near the headquarters and detained several Congress workers as they raised slogans against the Centre. Gandhi was accompanied by his sister and party leader, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, to the ED office.
'Satyagraha' march to continue: Surjewala
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the party's "Satyagraha" march would continue despite the Delhi Police denying them permission. Slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Surjewala said that the Centre has imposed an "undeclared emergency" in the entire central Delhi area. "We are the protectors of the Constitution, we will not bow down or be scared...Modi government is shaken by Congress," he added.
Congress's show of strength amid Gandhi's ED appearance
The Congress had planned a march to the ED office in Delhi to demonstrate a political show of strength as Gandhi appears before the ED. The party members see the ED summons to its senior leaders as a political vendetta and want to counter the ED both politically and legally. However, just after the permissions were denied, Gandhi's posters were seen outside his residence.
Party plans to hold demonstrations at ED offices across country
A meeting of All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretaries, state in-charges, and Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chiefs was held on Thursday. Congress MPs and Congress Working Committee (CWC) members were also asked to be present in Delhi for the rally on Monday. The party also has plans to hold demonstrations at 25 offices of the central probe agency across the country.
Sonia Gandhi hospitalized with post-COVID-19 complications
The ED had on June 1 summoned Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son in connection with a money laundering case involving the National Herald newspaper. The Congress chief was earlier required to be present before the ED on June 8 (Wednesday). However, after she tested positive for the COVID-19 infection and her subsequent hospitalization on Sunday, she will now depose on June 23.
What do we know about the money laundering case?
The case in which the Gandhis have been summoned relates to accusations of fraud and theft of National Herald funds in the purchase of the newspaper. They are accused of obtaining the National Herald assets by purchasing the former publisher of the newspaper, Associated Journals Limited (AJL), through another company Young India (YI) Limited, in which they had an 86% share.
Mallikarjun Kharge, Pawan Bansal also interrogated by ED
The Income Tax Department also began investigating the case and issued a demand notice to YI for Rs. 249.15 crore for the fiscal year 2011-12. In April, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress treasurer Pawan Bansal were also interrogated by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. While Kharge is the CEO of YI, Bansal is the managing director of AJL.