Bhopal, Aug 05: The Madhya Pradesh government will launch a probe to check if assets in the state, owned by newspaper National Herald linked to the Gandhis are being used for commercial purposes.
The probe will also try to find if the land use was changed.
It will be investigated. If commercial use is found then the property being used commercially will be sealed, state Urban Development Minister Bhupendra Singh said.
Singh also said that the land was allotted in the name of freedom fighters, which was later transferred in the name of the Congress leaders the same way the Rs 5,000 crore property of National Herald in Delhi is now in the name of Sonia Gandhi.
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The beginning of the case against National Herald case can be traced back to 2012 when Indian politician and economist Subramanian Swamy, in a private criminal complaint, filed a case Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and others for conspiring to cheat and also alleged that there was a misappropriation of funds.
The National Herald case relates to a equity transaction in which Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi are accused of allegedly misappropriating assets of Associated Journals worth over Rs 2,000 crore by paying a paltry sum of just Rs 50 lakh.
The Gandhis, however, have denied any wrongdoing, but courts have found merit in the allegations against them. Besides the Gandhis, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda are among the accused in the case. The case against the Gandhis and others is being pursued by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy.
Established by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938 the Publication of National Herald had be stopped in 2008 owing to its poor financial condition.
After its closure, the publishing company of the newspaper- Associated Journals Limited (AJL), converted into a real estate company and acquired the properties in many cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow and Bhopal worth billions of rupees.
Later on what led to triggering of the whole controversy that in the year 2010 AJL was taken over by the new company named -Young India Limited (YIL).
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In 2012 BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed a complaint accusing Congress leaders of cheating and breach of trust in the acquisition of AJL by YIL. Under the Income Tax Act no political organisation can have financial transactions with a third party.
Subramanian Swamy’s charges against the mother-son duo were that by paying just Rs 50 lakh the Young Indian India (YIL) Private Limited obtained the right to recover the Rs 90.25 crore the Associate Journals Limited had owed to the Congress. It is, however, to be noted that Swamy, in his plea, alleged that Congress party had granted an interest-free loan of Rs. 90.25 crore to YIL for the purpose of acquiring AJL worth Rs. 2000 crore at that time and wrote off this loan as unrecoverable in later years.
He also alleges that the fund given by Congress to YIL was illegal because, under the Income Tax Act, no political organisation can have financial transactions with a third party.
In 2014, the Enforcement Directorate initiated a probe to see if there was any money laundering in the case. On 18 September 2015, it was reported that the Enforcement Directorate had reopened its investigation in the National Herald case.
What does the Congress say?
The Congress has maintained that YIL was formed ‘with the aim of charity’ and not for profit. It also maintains that the said transactions were not a financial one but a ‘commercial’ one. It also raised objections to the complaint filed by Swamy, labelling it as “politically motivated”.