Rahul visits Sonia in hospital, to appear before ED today
Indian National Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was questioned for 11 hours by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the second consecutive day on Tuesday in the money laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper. He then visited his mother and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who is admitted to a hospital owing to COVID-19 complications. He will again depose before the ED on Wednesday.
Why does this story matter?
- The Congress planned a march to the ED office to demonstrate a political show of strength as Gandhi appears before the ED on Monday.
- The party sees the (ED) summons to its senior leaders as a political vendetta and wants to counter the ED politically and legally.
- However, the Delhi Police denied them permission to hold a march citing the law and order situation.
Congress workers, functionaries continue protest
Congress workers and functionaries continued with their protest against the ED summons to the Gandhis. They also slammed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for conspiring to 'defame' the Gandhis. On Tuesday, Gandhi, along with senior party leaders, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and party MPs, sat on a dharna at the Congress headquarters.
Gandhi has clocked 21 hours of questioning
The ED recorded Gandhi's statement in multiple sessions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). On Monday, he was quizzed for 10 hours, and on Tuesday for 11 hours, clocking in 21 hours of questioning by the ED sleuths. Meanwhile, the Delhi Police detained 217 Congress workers and leaders, including 15 MPs, from the New Delhi district on Tuesday. They were later released.
Several party leaders detained for violating prohibitory orders
KC Venugopal and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were among the several party leaders detained on Monday for violating prohibitory orders. Among other leaders who were detained were Randeep Singh Surjewala, Jairam Ramesh, Gaurav Gogoi, Deepender Singh Hooda, Ranjeet Ranjan, Jeby Mather, Imran Pratapgarhi, Youth Congress chief BV Srinivas and National Students' Union of India chief Neeraj Kundan, with some alleging being manhandled.
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.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed complaint in 2013
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 by Young Indian. The National Herald was a newspaper founded by Jawaharlal Nehru along with other freedom fighters in 1938.
Kharge, Pawan Bansal also interrogated by ED
The Income Tax Department also began investigating the case earlier 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 PMLA. While Kharge is the CEO of YI, Bansal is the managing director of AJL.