Major relief for Sonia Gandhi as ED may close National Herald case: Reports

In major relief for the Congress party, the Enforcement Directorate may close the National Herald case, as per media reports on Monday.

Last Updated: Aug 17, 2015, 17:58 PM IST
Major relief for Sonia Gandhi as ED may close National Herald case: Reports

Delhi: In major relief for the Congress party, the Enforcement Directorate may close the National Herald case, as per media reports on Monday.

Reports cited sources as saying that the ED had decided to close the case of now-defunct English daily due to technical reasons.

A trial court had on June 26 last year summoned Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice president Rahul, party treasurer Moti Lal Vora, general secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda to appear before it on the complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

The Congress leaders had, thereafter, on July 30, 2014, moved the high court.

Thereafter, on December 15, 2014, the court had stayed the summons till final disposal of the petitions, as per PTI.

On July 02, 2015, Sonia Gandhi had told Delhi High Court that the party's Rs 90 crore loan to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the publisher of National Herald, was assigned to Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YIL) for Rs 50 lakh to revive the publication.

The submission was made before Justice Sunil Gaur by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Congress chief, who said AJL will start running the newspaper as soon it pays off its debt to the Congress party.

Sibal had made the argument while refuting the allegation of Swamy that AJL's properties would only be used for deriving rent.

The argument was made during hearing of a bunch of pleas, filed by the Congress chief, her son Rahul Gandhi and five others, challenging the summons issued against them on a complaint by Swamy alleging cheating and breach of trust in the acquisition of AJL by YIL, in which the accused party leaders are shareholders.

During the hearing, Sibal had asked where the element of cheating or misappropriation or breach of trust was, as the acquisition process was carried out with the unanimous support of AJL's shareholders.

The acquisition was carried out by assigning to YIL for Rs 50 lakh a debt of Rs 90 crore that AJL had to pay to the Congress party, Sibal told the court and added that instead of paying YIL, shares in the publication were given to YIL.

Swamy, meanwhile, had contended that the Congress leaders had betrayed the Indian government as well as various state governments by getting prime land on concessional rates on the pretext of running a publication, and instead using the same for building malls or renting them out for commercial gains.

Swamy had also claimed that AJL could have sold off some of its properties to pay of the debt to Congress.

(With PTI inputs)