21 Jul 2022

Delhi Police preventing media from entering Congress headquarters: Jairam Ramesh

The Congress has planned another show of strength by holding protests across the national capital as Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi appears before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday in the National Herald case, party spokesperson Jairam Ramesh claimed that the Delhi Police was preventing the media from entering the headquarters Congress parties.
Mr. Ramesh accused the Delhi Police of showing "haughtiness" and said it reflected the mindset of the Modi government.

"Since the early hours of the morning, the Delhi Police - apparently taking orders from the Union Home Minister - has been preventing the media from entering the Congress party headquarters. This condescension was only to be expected and reflects Modi's mindset." Sarkar,” he tweeted.

Police made elaborate arrangements and barricaded Akbar Road as the party headquarters is located at 24, Akbar Road.

Congress leader Manickam Tagore tweeted, "Congress office headquarters at Akbar Road but now closed by Shah police... They know the strength of Congress workers and their determination."

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, other party leaders and MPs are already present in Delhi. Tonight they had a meeting at Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge's house.

Official sources said Sonia Gandhi was asked to depose before investigators at the party headquarters around 11 am on Thursday.

The fresh summons was issued as Sonia Gandhi could not join the ED investigation in the case due to COVID-19.

The ED had on June 1 summoned Sonia Gandhi to appear before its investigators for the first time on June 8 in a case related to the money laundering case involving the National Herald.

The ED wants to record both the statements of Sonia Gandhi under the penal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ED questioned Rahul Gandhi several times in the case last month.

The case investigating alleged financial irregularities under the PMLA was registered about nine months ago after a trial court took up the Income Tax department's probe, which was conducted on the basis of a private criminal complaint filed by a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP in 2013. .

The petitioner approached the court alleging that the assets of Associated Journals Limited (AJL), which published the National Herald newspaper, were fraudulently acquired and transferred to Young Indian Pvt Limited (YIL), in which Sonia Gandhi and her son owned 38 per cent shares each.

YIL promoters include Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Swamy alleged that the Gandhis had cheated and misappropriated funds, with YIL paying only ₹50,000 to get the right to recover ₹90.25 million owed by the AJL to the Congress.

The Congress argued that YIL is a non-profit making company under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956, which cannot accumulate profits or pay dividends to its shareholders.

Calling it a case of political vendetta, senior Supreme Court advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said, "This is indeed a very strange case - an alleged money laundering case for which summonses are issued without any money."

The federal agency's move followed the questioning of Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress treasurer Pawan Bansal in New Delhi in April this year in connection with its money laundering probe in the National Herald case.

The agency then recorded the statements of the two Congress leaders then under PMLA. The National Herald is published by AJL and owned by YIL.

While Mr. Kharge is the CEO of YIL, Mr. Bansal is the Managing Director of AJL.

The ED is currently investigating the shareholding structure and financial transactions as well as the role of party functionaries in the functioning of AJL and YIL.

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