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Jolt to Gandhis in National Herald case

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New Delhi: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi come out after meeting President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan on April 12, 2017. (Photo: IANS) by .
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi (Photo: IANS)

In a jolt to the Congress first family in the National Herald case, the Delhi High Court declined to entertain a plea by Young Indian Pvt Ltd, in which Sonia Gandhi and Rahul are the main stakeholders, challenging Income Tax notices served to the company — clearing the decks for an IT probe against them….reports Asian Lite News

New Delhi: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi come out after meeting President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan on April 12, 2017. (Photo: IANS) by .
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi (Photo: IANS)

The case stems from a complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who had alleged criminal conspiracy and cheating in the acquisition of The Associated Journals Limited (AJL ), the publisher of National Herald, by Young Indian — a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each have a 38 per cent stake.

Swamy had alleged that the Congress gave an unsecured loan to Young Indian (YI) to acquire AJL.

The company withdrew the plea after a division bench of Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice Chander Shekhar asked it to approach the Income Tax assessing officer concerned.

The court was of the view that the company has not approached the assessing officer for its grievances, and it should first approach the IT Department and in case the YI was still not satisfied, it can move the court thereafter.

The bench dismissed the plea as withdrawn.

The plea had sought quashing of two Income Tax notices sent to YI in January and March with regard to the assessment year 2011-12. The plea also urged the court to give a direction to the IT Department to not take further action against it on the basis of these notices.

Besides the Gandhis, Congress leaders Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and YI are accused in the case.

Swamy had accused them of allegedly conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh, by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which AJL owed to the Congress.

The High Court on December 7, 2015 had dismissed the plea of the Gandhis to quash the summons issued by the trial court on Swamy’s complaint and asked them to appear before the trial court.

On December 19, 2015, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi had appeared before it pursuant to the summons.

Started in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru, National Herald’s circulation and financial health steadily deteriorated over decades, leading to its closure in 2008 with a debt of Rs 90 crore on its head.

Swamy had accused the Congress of loaning this money to AJL and then assigning the debt to YIL for Rs 50 lakh – a transaction the BJP leader said amounted to cheating and a breach of trust. All the accused have denied the allegations, saying the party’s Rs 90 crore loan to AJL was assigned to Young Indian to revive the publication.