Asserting that the show of strength by the Congress is aimed at putting pressure on the ED, the BJP on Monday attacked the opposition party, saying its leaders have hit the streets in support of corruption and to protect the alleged assets worth Rs 2,000 crore of the Gandhi family.
Noting that nobody is above the law not ”even Rahul Gandhi”, BJP leader and Union Minister Smriti Irani claimed that never before such a blatant attempt was made by a political family to hold a probe agency to ransom and added that it has been done to protect the ”ill-gotten” assets of the family.
As top Congress leaders, including Priyanka Robert Vadra, Randeep Surjewala, K C Venugopal and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury hit the streets against the Enforcement Directorate’s summons to Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case, Irani held a press conference and claimed that senior party leaders were summoned to hold protests in Delhi because the family’s corruption was caught out. Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel also participated in the protest march.
Irani alleged that the Gandhi family floated Young Indian to grab assets worth over Rs 2,000 crore from Associated Journals Limited, which publishes the National Herald newspaper.
Over 5,000 freedom fighters had shares in the newspaper when it was floated, and now the Gandhi family owns it, she said, adding that the Young Indian was officially formed for charity purposes in 2010 but admitted in 2016 that it had not undertaken any charitable work in six years. ”It served not society but the Gandhi family”, she said.
She said the Delhi High Court had observed in 2019 that the transaction of transferring the AJL shares to Young Indian was a ”clandestine and surreptitious transfer of the lucrative interest”.
Taking a jibe at the Gandhi family, she said it appears that Robert Vadra, husband of Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, is not the only member of the family to have interest in real estate.
Congress members should also ask Rahul Gandhi about his family’s relations with Dotex Merchandise, which she described as a hawala operator whose transactions have been flagged by the Financial Intelligence Unit.
Rahul Gandhi appeared before the ED here on Monday for questioning in the National Herald money laundering investigation.
The ED said it will record the statement of the Lok Sabha member from Wayanad in Kerala under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The probe pertains to alleged financial irregularities in the party-promoted Young Indian that owns the National Herald newspaper.
National Herald is published by the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and owned by the Young Indian Pvt Limited.
Rahul Gandhi is expected to be grilled about the incorporation of the Young Indian company, the operations of the National Herald and the funds transfer within the news media establishment.
”The Congress party will fight this oppression by the Modi government,” Indian Youth Congress President Srinivas BV told PTI near the ED office.