ED Issues Fresh Summons to Sonia Gandhi for Questioning on July 21

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday summoned Congress president Sonia Gandhi to appear before the agency on July 21 in the National Herald case, sources told CNN-News18. The 75-year-old Congress leader had earlier written to the probe agency seeking postponement of her appearance citing recovery from Covid-19.

Gandhi had sought postponement from the agency notice for an appearance on June 23 on the grounds that the doctors had “strictly advised her to rest at home following her hospitalisation on account of Covid and lung infection”.

The Enforcement Directorate had accepted the request for postponing questioning and had asked her to record her statement with the agency in the last week of July.

Gandhi was first issued notice for an appearance on June 8 but she reported positive for Covid-19. The Congress president was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi on June 12 for Covid-related complications. She was discharged on June 20.

Her son and former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was quizzed for 54 hours in five days.

National Herald Case

The Income Tax department, which had been investigating the National Herald case since 2016, had filed a charge sheet alleging financial irregularities in the Congress-promoted Young Indian Private Limited, which owns the National Herald newspaper. Sonia Gandhi and her son are among the promoters and majority shareholders of Young Indian with each having a 38 per cent stake in the company.

The Gandhis are being probed as the ED registered a fresh case under the criminal provisions of the PMLA after a Delhi trial court took cognisance of an Income Tax department probe against Young Indian, based on a private criminal complaint filed by Subramanian Swamy in 2013.

Swamy had accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds, with Young Indian paying only Rs 50 lakh to obtain the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) owed to the Congress.

In February 2021, the Delhi High Court issued a notice to the Gandhis for their response to Swamy’s plea, seeking to lead evidence in the matter before the trial court. Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal were questioned by the ED in this case in April.

Meanwhile, Congress has accused the Centre of targeting the opposition leaders by “misusing” investigative agencies and has termed the entire action a “political vendetta”.

(With inputs from PTI)

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