Rahul Gandhi requests tomorrow’s ED questioning be postponed to Monday

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday has written to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) requesting that his questioning in an alleged money-laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper be postponed to Monday, NDTV reported quoting sources.

Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are with their mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi at the Delhi’s Ganga Ram hospital, the report said. She was admitted to the hospital over Covid-related complications, they added.

Meanwhile, after consecutive three days of questioning, the ED on Wednesday asked the Wayanad MP to rejoin the probe on Friday.

He 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, sources told news agency PTI.

Investigators in the ED, sources said, have also asked 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, both of them Gandhi loyalists.

In a complaint in the Delhi High Court, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 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, Gandhi has told the ED that all the decisions and transactions related to YIL were taken by late party leader Motilal Vora, sources told news agency IANS. He has denied having knowledge of any sort of loan taken by YIL, according to ED sources. In fact, he was not aware of the accommodation entry of YIL, Gandhi is said to have told ED.

Gandhi said that the late Vora was engaged in all these sorts of affairs. Vora held 12 per cent stakes in YIL, while Rahul and Sonia had 76 per cent stakes. “Gandhi said he had no knowledge of YI-AJL deal as Vora was looking after it,” the sources claimed.

As per the IANS sources, Gandhis are major beneficiaries in the whole deal. Earlier, Pawan Bansal and Mallikarjuna Kharge were questioned by the central agency. Since Vora has passed away, the needle of suspicion pointed towards the Gandhis.