Reacting to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's remark that the National Herald case against the Gandhi family is prima facie strong, Congress leader Manish Tewari on Tuesday said the entire matter rested on the foundations of political vendetta and malice. "Well, the entire matter rests on the foundations of political vendetta and malice, and the fact that the Finance Minister has chosen respond to the matter, only reinforces, underscores and underlines that the only intent and objective of this litigation, which has been filed by a BJP leader, is to further this agenda of political vendetta," Tewari told ANI.
"The fact that the Finance Minister has chosen to speak in these terms, only reinforces and dispels any iota which there may have been except for political vindictiveness. There is nothing else which motivates these lists," he added. In an interview to NDTV, Jaitley had said on Monday: "The National Herald case is prima facie a very strong case. The Congress could simply return the loan and the matter could end. There is no truth to media reports of an Enforcement Directorate inquiry in the Herald case."
Earlier, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi challenged an order summoning them to a Delhi court on August 7, to explain BJP leader Subramanian 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.