Sonia Gandhi appears before the ED for a second round of questioning in a money laundering case
PTI, Jul 26, 2022, 11:39 AM IST
Congresswoman Sonia Gandhi appeared before the Directorate of Law Enforcement (ED) on Tuesday for her second round of questioning in the money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper.
She reached the federal agency’s office at Vidyut Lane, along APJ Abdul Kalam Road in central Delhi, around 11 a.m., accompanied by her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
While Priyanka Gandhi remained at the ED office, Rahul Gandhi left soon after.
Gandhi, 75, was interrogated for more than two hours on her first day of interrogation in the case on July 21, where she answered 28 questions posed by the agency.
The questioning relates to the charge of alleged financial irregularities in the Congress-promoted Young Indian Private Limited, owner of the National Herald newspaper.
Officials said all appropriate Covid protocols had been put in place for the high-profile session, such as the parking of doctors and an ambulance, “Covid Negative” investigator certificates and appropriate physical distancing between Gandhi and the investigation team.
Congress criticized the agency’s action against its senior leadership and called it a “political vendetta”.
Delhi Police deployed a huge force, including CRPF and RAF personnel, and barricaded the entire stretch of more than a kilometer between his residence and the emergency office. Traffic restrictions have also been imposed in the area.
Rahul Gandhi was also questioned by the ED in the case last month in sessions that lasted more than 50 hours over five days.
The decision to question the Gandhis was launched after the ED late last year registered a new case under the criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. This was after a magistrates’ court learned of an investigation by the Income Tax Department against Young Indian based on a private criminal complaint filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.
Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are among the promoters and majority shareholders of Young Indian. Like her son, the President of Congress owns 38% of the shares.
Swamy had accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and embezzle funds, with Young Indian only paying Rs 50 lakh for the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that Associate Journals Limited owed Congress.
In February last year, the Delhi High Court issued a notice to the Gandhis asking them to respond to Swamy’s appeal. Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal were questioned by the ED in the case in April.
Congress has maintained that there was no wrongdoing and that Young Indian is a “not-for-profit” corporation established under Section 25 of the Societies Act, so it cannot be money laundering issue.
It is understood that Rahul Gandhi, when giving evidence to the ED, held to the position that there was no personal acquisition of assets by himself or his family.
According to the ED, assets worth around Rs 800 crore are ‘held’ by the AJL and the agency wants to know from Gandhis how a non-profit company like Young Indian was undertaking rental business activities. its land and real estate assets. .