Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for a second time on Tuesday in connection with a money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper.
As per the Republic newspaper, Gandhi was shown documents pertaining to his shareholding in Young India Private Limited, specific financial transactions involving Associated Journals Limited, and was asked to go through them.
Sources say that the Parliamentarian from Wayanad was then asked about his involvement in these companies’ operations. However, the answers and explanations given by the 51-year-old were not satisfactory, and it appeared that he was tutored by his lawyers on how to answer and avoid certain aspects, sources said.
The questioning got over at 9.30 p.m. on Monday, and since few questions remained untouched during the interrogation due to a lack of time, he was asked to appear for a second time, sources added.
The National Herald case
The case pertains to the probe into the alleged financial irregularities in the party-promoted Young Indian Ltd that owns the National Herald newspaper. The paper is published by AJL and owned by Young Indian Pvt Limited.
The questioning of the senior Congress leaders and the Gandhis is a part of the ED’s investigation to understand the shareholding pattern, financial transactions, and role of the promoters of Young Indian and AJL, officials said. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are among the promoters and shareholders of Young Indian.
The probe agency had registered a fresh case under the criminal provisions of the PMLA after a trial court 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. On December 19, 2015, the Gandhi mother-son duo got bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs.50,000 each and a surety after the court ruled out apprehension that they will flee the country.