Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who hasn’t yet recovered from Covid-19, has sought more time to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Sources said that Gandhi has sought at least three more weeks to appear before the agency, which has summoned the Congress chief in connection with a money laundering case pertaining to the National Herald-AJL deal. The National Herald newspaper is published by Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and owned by Young Indian Pvt Limited.
Sonia Gandhi had tested positive for Covid last week. Her son and former party chief Rahul Gandhi has also been asked to appear before the ED on June 13 at the agency’s headquarters in Delhi and he is likely to appear before it. He was earlier summoned on June 2 but had sought time as he was abroad at the time.
The ED had registered a fresh case under the criminal provisions of the PMLA after a trial court in Delhi took cognizance of an Income Tax Department probe against Young Indian Pvt Ltd on the basis of a private criminal complaint filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013. Swamy had accused Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds with Young Indian Pvt Ltd paying only Rs 50 lakh to obtain the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that Associate Journals Ltd owed to the Congress.
Terming the ED summons “politics of revenge," Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala had said: “This is a politics of vendetta and revenge by the BJP to target opposition leaders as they have done to other opponents in the country."
“National Herald newspaper was started in 1942. At that time the British tried to close it, today the Modi government is also doing the same thing as the Britishers did. Now the ED is being used for this purpose…"
Meanwhile, the Congress is preparing for a major show of strength in the national capital on June 13 when Rahul Gandhi will appear before the Enforcement Directorate. Sources said on Wednesday that all Congress MPs, of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and senior party leaders have been asked to reach the party headquarters on Akbar Road Monday in the morning. The party plans to take out a march to the ED office on APJ Abdul Kalam Road in a show of support for Gandhi when he appears before the agency.
The party has convened a virtual meeting of general secretaries, in-charges of various states and state unit presidents on Thursday evening to finalise the protest plans. Senior party leaders said the state units should also conduct various campaigns in protest against the ED summons.
(With agency inputs)
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