National Herald case: Congress hits streets as ED grills Rahul for money laundering

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Congress supporters stage a demonstration over Enforcement Directorate (ED)'s probe against party leader Rahul Gandhi in connection with the National Herald case, in Jaipur on Friday. (ANI Photo)

Apart from Delhi, the Congress holds protests in several parts of the country including Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan

Our Bureau
New Delhi/Mumbai  

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been asked to rejoin the probe by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in connection with the National Herald case after the Congress leader left the ED office on Wednesday. The former Congress chief appeared before the ED for the third consecutive day on Wednesday for questioning.

Regarding his questioning by ED on Monday, as per official sources, the Congress leader, was confronted with several documents collated by the ED as evidence recovered so far in the case to get his version. Rahul Gandhi was questioned in detail about the ownership of Young Indian Private Limited (YIL) by the Gandhi family and its shareholding pattern in Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the company that runs the National Herald newspaper, said sources.

Investigators in the ED, sources said, have also asked Rahul Gandhi to describe the circumstances under which AJL was acquired by YIL in 2010, making it the owner of all assets owned by the National Herald newspaper. The National Herald, started by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was published by the AJL. In 2010, the AJL, which faced financial difficulties, was taken over by a newly-floated YIL with Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda as directors.

In a complaint in the Delhi High Court, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy accused Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul Gandhi, and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds.

Officials familiar with the probe said Rahul Gandhi is being asked questions about the takeover of the AJL by YIL since the Gandhis have stakes in the latter. The Congress leader is being questioned under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Meanwhile, apart from Delhi, the Congress on Thursday held protests in several parts of the country including Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan over the Enforcement Directorate investigating former party president Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.

Congress workers held a protest march in Bengaluru on Thursday over the questioning of Rahul Gandhi by ED. Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar, CLP leader Siddaramaiah and other leaders and workers of the party were detained by police during their protest in Bengaluru.

“The protest is our right. We will fight for justice. They (ED) are not taking cases of any BJP leaders. They are harassing only Congress people,” Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar. Bengaluru witnessed traffic snarls ahead of another Congress protest march. An ambulance was also seen stuck in the traffic.

Bengaluru Police said the Congress protest was against the High Court’s order. “High Court had earlier ordered those protests will not be held anywhere except Freedom Park. We conveyed it to them. They gave us in writing about protest but we rejected it. We conveyed it to them in the morning too. If they proceed, we will take them into preventive custody,” said Bheemashankar S Guled, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru East.

Congress workers also held a protest in Chandigarh against the questioning of Rahul Gandhi by ED. Several workers of the party were detained by police. “I cannot understand what has Rahul Gandhi done that he has been called for 3 days? Yesterday, Delhi Police barged into AICC office and beat up our MPs. Such vendetta politics has never been seen before. Government should not try to suppress voices,” Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Warring.

“We will continue protesting. We were going to Raj Bhavan. Congress party stands with Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. We will not step back. We will not be scared,” said a Congress worker.

In an attempt to resist detention during the Congress party’s protest over the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons to Rahul Gandhi, party leader and former union minister Renuka Chowdhury on Thursday held a policeman by his collar while being taken away by other police personnel here in Hyderabad.

Telangana Congress held a massive protest here over the ED investigating Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case. Several Congress workers and leaders were detained by the police. Chowdhury was seen engaging in a heated argument with the policeman as she held his collar. Women police personnel then dragged the former union minister towards the police van.

Congress had given a “Chalo Raj Bhavan” call and at Telangana’s Raj Bhavan police detained several party workers who attempted to stage a protest there.

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