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National Herald case: Congress says BJP engaging in political vendetta

Friday, 1 August 2014 - 3:05pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: ANI

With the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filing a preliminary enquiry in the National Herald case to find out if there was any money laundering angle involved, the Congress on Friday accused the NDA Government of indulging in political vendetta.

"If this does not reflect political vendetta, then what else qualifies as political vendetta. I do not understand," former union minister Manish Tewari told ANI.

"Here is a government, which while in opposition, blamed the UPA Government for misusing government agencies in order to hound their political adversaries, and what we have seen in the very first month of this government coming into office, is that what they accused the UPA of doing…is actually what they are practicing in terms of trying to hound their political adversaries," he added.

"And, if this kind of politics, which the BJP Government wants to pursue, then obviously it will be met with a robust political and legal response in every appropriate forum," Tewari said.

The Enforcement Directorate has filed a preliminary investigation into allegations of cheating and criminal breach of trust in a case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

Earlier this week, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi challenged an order summoning them to a Delhi court on August 7, to explain Swamy's allegations.

A lower court had on June 26 summoned Sonia and Rahul and three others to answer allegations that they used their leadership of the Congress Party to misuse about USD 15 million dollars of party funds for personal profit. The party had received notices from the tax authority, a communication in which the recipient is asked to explain apparent irregularities in his tax declarations.

Swamy had alleged misappropriation of assets worth rupees 20 billion of the National Herald newspaper. Swamy had accused Sonia and others of conspiring to cheat.

At the heart of the court case is Associated Journals Limited, publisher of three newspapers, including the National Herald, an English daily founded and edited by Jawaharlal Nehru before he became independent India's first Prime Minister.

In 2008, the company shut down with an unpaid debt of about$15 million, according to allegations in a copy of the court order.

The case accuses the Gandhis of setting up a firm called the Young Indian Company to buy the debt using Congress party funds even though Associated Journals allegedly had real estate assets worth at least USD 335 million, which would have cleared the debt.

Motilal Vora, a Congress party member, was managing director of Associated Journals and later became a shareholder of the Young Indian Company, according to the allegations .
Swamy alleged the Young Indian Company then owned all of the equity in Associated Journals and rented out its properties to profit its shareholders, including Rahul and Sonia, who together controlled 76 percent.




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