New Delhi: In a setback to Janta Party chief Subramanian Swamy, the Election Commission on Tueday rejected his plea seeking to derecognise Congress as a national party for violating laws by providing a Rs 90 crore loan to a company that published the now-defunct National Herald newspaper.
In a letter to Election Commission, Swamy had alleged the Congress has “prima facie” committed an offence under electoral law as well as Income Tax law for which it is necessary to hold hearings and decide on derecognising the party.
His petition to the Commission was seen as a follow-up to his charges against Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi over acquisition of Associated Journals that published the newspaper to which Congress gave a loan of over Rs 90 crore.
He had said Associated Journals obtained an unsecured loan of over Rs 90 crore from AICC which he claimed was illegal under Income Tax Act because a political party cannot give loans for commercial purposes.
“The written admission by senior Congress leader and spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi in his press release dated November 2 admitted that Congress has loaned (a sum of more than Rs 90 crores) to a company incorporated under Section 3 of Companies Act, 1956 by name Associated Journals Pvt Ltd.
“This loan is in violation of the Guidelines and Rules that has to be mandatorily followed by political parties for registration as well as recognition. Section 29A to C of RPA and Section 13A of IT Act do not make any provision for any political party to extend loans to companies with or without interest,” Swamy said in the letter.
The Congress on its part adopted a combative approach over the controversy on The Associated Journals issue, saying it has discharged its "political dharma" and that it was ready to contest any challenge in any fora for giving loan to support the newspaper.
With PTI inputs