The case is about two companies, the Congress party and real estate.
  • Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute| June 26, 2014| 6.17 pm IST A court in Delhi on Thursday issued summons to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi for misappropriating the funds of the National Herald newspaper that was shut down some years ago. Metropolitian magistrate Gomati Manocha, while issuing the summons, said: "I have found prima facie evidence against all the accused."  The case is about two companies, the Congress party and real estate. Associated Journals Pvt. Ltd (AJPL) set up by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1937 was the company that published the now defunct National Herald, Navjivan and Quami Awaz newspapers and the International Weekly magazine. Young Indian- A private formed in the year 2002 to create a platform for Young Indians. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, Congress leaders Motilal Vohra and Oscar Fernandes are directors in this company. Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi together hold a 76% stake in Young Indian. The rest is held by Congress politicians Moti Lal Vora and Oscar Fernandes (12% each). Congress party's loan to AJPL In 2008, a fledging National Herald was closed down. Subramaniam Swamy alleges that in 2011 the Congress Party extended a loan of 90 crores to the Associated Journals Pvt Ltd. This loan was apparently given to write off accumulated debts of Associated Journal Pvt Ltd and thereby restart the National Herald which was closed in 2008. When questioned about this in the past, the Congress party has said that extending the loan was part of its political dharma and for propagation of its ideology. The loan was paid off from Rs 2008 crores donation which the party received between 2004-05 and 2010-11. With the help of the loan, APJL’s debts were written off. Young Indian and AJPL In the meantime, Young Indian proposed to take over the debt of over 90 crore in lieu of 99.1% shares being transferred to them. Thereby Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi became owners of the AJPL. The Mint in an article in November 2102 says, “On 21 December 2010, less than a month after its incorporation, AJL’s board approved the assignment of Rs.90.21 crore in accumulated loans taken from the All India Congress Committee (AICC), to Young Indian. This debt was then retired for a consideration of Rs.50 lakh, which Young Indian paid to AICC. On AJL’s books it was converted into equity.” The real estate that APJL owned At the heart of the controversy is the Herald House building that AJPL owned, which now effectively belongs to the Young Indian now. Subramaniam Swamy’s contention is that the AJPL – Young Indian deal was a sham, intended to grab the Herald house- a property worth 1,600 crores he says. In addition, National Herald has huge properties across the country like New Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Allahabad, Bhopal, Indore, Panchukula.  Swamy approached the court accusing Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi of grabbing assets of a public limited company by floating a private company and using Congress party’s funds. As per Income Tax Act, political parties are debarred from funding business operations. National Herald Order June 26, 2014