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National Herald Case: ED Searches Young Indian Office in Kharge's Presence; BJP, Cong Step Up Attack

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: August 04, 2022, 22:41 IST

Delhi, India

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge leaves Young Indian office, the holding company of Congress-owned newspaper National Herald, in Delhi on Aug. 4. (Image: PTI)

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge leaves Young Indian office, the holding company of Congress-owned newspaper National Herald, in Delhi on Aug. 4. (Image: PTI)

On Wednesday, the ED sealed the Young Indian office and the Delhi police briefly barricaded the AICC office and the residence of Sonia to avoid any protest-like situation by party workers

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday searched the office of Congress-owned Young Indian in Delhi as part of the ongoing probe in the National Herald case. The searches, which lasted for more than six hours, were conducted in the presence of senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge at the Herald House building. The grand old party slammed the summons issued to Kharge right in the middle of the Parliament session.

The 80-year-old Kharge, who is the principal officer of the company, reached the Young Indian office at around 12:40 pm and met ED officials who had sought his attendance during the searches. He was also quizzed by the probe agency.

The appearance of Kharge before the officials of ED and its action in the money laundering case led to a political slugfest between the Congress and the BJP in Parliament after Kharge told the Rajya Sabha that he was summoned to appear before the probe agency at 12.30 pm.

“It’s been 6.5 hours and our senior leader and LoP Mallikarjun Kharge, who was summoned by ED in the middle of (the Parliament) session, is still with the ED. It is regretful. He was supposed to host a dinner at 7:30 pm for the Opposition’s vice-presidential candidate Margaret Alva. This is pure harassment. The Modi government has created this drama before Congress’s protest rally tomorrow in all states against inflation, unemployment, and GST on edibles. Many security forces were deployed yesterday outside Sonia Gandhi’s residence and AICC’s HQs,” said Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh.

Reacting on summons issued to him, Kharge said in the Upper House of Parliament that this was an attempt to “frighten and intimidate” the Congress. Supporting him, his party said the summons during the working hours of Parliament was a “black chapter of democracy” and an “insult” to the legislature.

Launching a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said he is “not afraid of Narendra Modi” and will not be “intimidated” by the ED action in the National Herald case.

Meanwhile, Union Minister and Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal termed Kharge’s charge “baseless” and maintained that the Centre does not interfere in the functioning of law enforcement agencies. He asked the Congress leaders to face the law “instead of running away”.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her MP-son Rahul Gandhi are among the promoters and majority shareholders in Young Indian. Like her son, the Congress president too has 38 per cent shareholding. The National Herald newspaper is published by Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) and its holding company is Young Indian. The newspaper office is registered in the name of AJL.

On Wednesday, the ED sealed the Young Indian office and the Delhi police briefly barricaded the AICC office and the residence of Sonia Gandhi to avoid any protest-like situation by party workers.

The ED had on Tuesday launched raids at a dozen locations, including at the Herald House, in connection with the ongoing money laundering probe in the National Herald-AJL-Young Indian deal.

The ED had questioned Sonia Gandhi in July and Rahul Gandhi in June in connection with the case at its headquarters in Delhi besides quizzing Congress leaders Kharge and Pawan Bansal in April.

(with inputs from PTI)

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first published:August 04, 2022, 21:15 IST
last updated:August 04, 2022, 22:41 IST