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National Herald case: Congress alleges `political motives` behind prosecution

Last Updated: Saturday, August 2, 2014 - 00:03

New Delhi: Congress on Friday alleged "political motives" behind the case of alleged misappropriation of funds and cheating in acquiring ownership of the now-defunct daily National Herald.

"I think we are still of the view that there is no wrong that has been done and there is definitely a political motivation behind the prosecution," party spokesperson Shashi Tharoor said.

Tharoor said this while responding to questions about reports that the Enforcement Directorate started a preliminary investigation into allegations of cheating and criminal breach of trust relating to the acquisition of National Herald.

In another development, the Delhi High Court today issued notice to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on a batch of petitions filed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and others in the case.

The Congress leaders have challenged the lower court`s orders summoning them on a complaint by Swamy alleging cheating and misappropriation of funds in the acquisition of the daily by Young Indian (YI).

Besides Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Party treasurer Moti Lal Vora are among the directors of Young India which was recently given almost 99 per cent ordinary shares of the Associated Journals Limited AJL. AJL had been publishing newspapers `National Herald` in English, "Navjivan" in Hindi and "Quami Awaz" in Urdu.

Responding to a question on the issue, another party spokesperson and senior lawyer Abhishek Singhvi said "we are a responsible party, we do not believe in discussing judicial matters in a light-hearted manner."

He said the High Court has issued a notice on petitions filed by the Congress President, the Vice President and others.

"A notice will be returned as they say in legal parlance on August 5 which means that the respondent, one of whom is a complainant Subramanian Swamy and the other is the central government, will come and respond. So, there is a notice today and that is the law," he said.

On the civil services exam row, Singhvi said it is "most unfortunate" that the government is "playing with the lives of millions of aspirants to civil services" by "failing" to resolve the issue this way or that way.

"We are not on the merits at the moment. The government is not entitled to dither on this. Our problem at the moment is not even the merit of the decision....The government only has a recommendatory role to the UPSC. The decider of the whole issue is the UPSC.

"Either you must tell them that they must go ahead with that date or tell them there will be reasonable deferment. It cannot be allowed to drift in this manner. We condemn this absolute, casual and cavalier attitude of the government of India as reflected in the last few days and today," he said.

First Published: Saturday, August 2, 2014 - 00:03

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