Publish: 21 Jul 2022, 07:28 pm
Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi was questioned for two
hours by the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday in the National Herald money
The questioning began around 12:30 pm, at the ED's
headquarters in central Delhi. She was accompanied by her son Rahul Gandhi and
daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Rahul left the ED headquarters after some time,
while Priyanka stayed backed and waited in a separate room while her mother was
Recording of Sonia's statements began after completion of
some formalities like verification of summons and signature in the attendance
sheet, sources said.
Sonia Gandhi was questioned by the same assistant
director-level investigation officer who interrogated her son Rahul Gandhi in
the case. A woman officer was also part of the questioning team.
Sources say that she was asked the same set of questions
which were asked to Rahul during his five-day questioning.
She has been allowed to leave on her request made on medical
grounds, sources said.
The probe relates to alleged financial irregularities in the
Congress-promoted Young Indian Private Limited, which owns the National Herald
Congress leaders, workers protest across India
Congress workers protested in various parts of the country
against the questioning of Sonia Gandhi by the ED. They alleged misuse of
cenral agencies by the Modi government.
Party MPs and Congress Working Committee members
"courted mass arrest" outside the AICC headquarters in New Delhi in a
show of collective solidarity with her. They alleged that the Delhi Police
prevented the media from entering the AICC headquarters and this
"high-handedness" reflects the mindset of the Narendra Modi
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said the probe agency
should first hold a press conference to spell out under what charges Sonia
Gandhi is being probed.
"I condemn the ED action of calling Sonia Gandhi for
questioning," he told reporters at a press conference.
Party leader Sachin Pilot said the BJP-led government's sole
objective is to indulge in "character assassination" of people and
"trample" upon the voice of the Opposition.
Congress was joined by several opposition parties in
protesting the ED questioning of Sonia Gandhi.
Leaders of DMK, CP(M), CPI, NC, TRS, MDMK, NCP and Shiv
Sena, in a joint statement condemned the ED action against Sonia Gandhi and
alleged that the government was unleashing a relentless campaign against its
political opponents through "mischievous" misuse of probe agencies.
What is the National Herald case?
The case relates to alleged financial irregularities in the
Congress-promoted Young Indian Private Limited, which owns National Herald.
The move to question the Gandhis was initiated after the ED
late last year registered a fresh case under criminal provisions of the PMLA.
This was after a trial court here took cognisance of an Income Tax department
probe against Young Indian on the basis of a private criminal complaint by BJP
MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.
Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are among the promoters and majority
shareholders of Young Indian. Like her son, the Congress president too has 38
per cent shareholding.
Swamy had accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to
cheat and misappropriate funds, with YI paying only Rs 50 lakh to obtain the
right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that AJL owed to the Congress.
In February last year, the Delhi High Court issued a notice
to the Gandhis for their response on Swamy's plea.
Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal were
questioned by the ED in the case in April.
The Congress party has maintained that there has been no
wrongdoing and Young Indian is a "not-for-profit" company established
under section 25 of the Companies Act and hence there can be no question of
It is understood that Rahul Gandhi, during his deposition
before the ED, stuck to the position that there was no personal acquisition of
assets by himself or his family.
According to the ED, assets worth about Rs 800 crore are
"owned" by the AJL and it wants to know from the Gandhis how a
not-for-profit company like Young Indian was undertaking commercial activities
of renting out its land and building assets._TimesofIndia
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