Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Sonia Gandhi being quizzed by ED; Cong workers on rampage

Sonia Gandhi, 75, arrived at the Enforcement Directorate’s headquarters in central Delhi a little after noon escorted by her Z+ category CRPF security cover. 

She is being questioned in an alleged money laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper. Her questioning had been deferred earlier after she was hospitalised after testing positive for coronavirus. Meanwhile, the Congress, including its state units, is protesting across the nation in solidarity with the party chief. 

Five officers of the ED are reportedly carrying out the interrogation, led by Monica Sharma, additional director. 

Sonia Gandhi would be allowed to rest if she gets tired during her questioning. 

As per NDTV, the interim Congress president has made some requests to the ED: 

She has asked that her daughter Priyanka Gandhi be allowed to stay in the building as she keeps her medicines. 

The Congress president has reportedly requested a spacious and ventilated room for her questioning. Also, she has asked that officials and staff who interact with her be tested for Covid, sources say.

Rahul Gandhi’s questioning in the case went on for five days but sources say the Enforcement Directorate plans to keep it short when it comes to his mother.

The Enforcement Directorate claims Rahul Gandhi’s questioning took more time because his answers did not match. After each round of questioning, when he was asked to sign off on the typed transcript, the Congress MP “improvised some answers”, claimed sources, as per NDTV.

The Gandhis are being questioned in what is called the “National Herald case” involving the Young Indian’s takeover of Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the company that runs the National Herald newspaper, a Congress mouthpiece.

The Enforcement Directorate says the Young Indian company also took over ₹ 800 crore in assets of AJL. According to the Income Tax department, this should be considered an asset of the shareholders of Young Indian — Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, for which they should pay tax. 

The Congress says the assets of AJL went to a Young Indian, a non-profit, and so the shareholders could not make any money from the assets since that is not allowed under the law. To which, the Enforcement Directorate says the Young Indian claims to be a non-profit but has not done any charity work. 

Sonia Gandhi’s questioning will be carried out in three parts, say sources. Rahul Gandhi was questioned for over 40 hours across five days.

The first part of her questioning will be on personal details of her shareholding and taxes and the second part will focus on the links of Associated Journal to Young Indian, say sources.

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