Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has written to the Enforcement Directorate seeking more time from the agency to appear before it in a money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper.
Officials told News18 that the agency received an e-mail from Gandhi late on Wednesday saying he is currently abroad and requesting the next convenient date for appearance.
Apart from Rahul Gandhi, his mother and interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, too, has been summoned in the case. While Sonia (75) had been asked to depose before the federal agency at its headquarters in central Delhi on June 8, Rahul (51) had been asked to appear on June 2.
The case pertains to a probe into alleged financial irregularities in the Congress-promoted Young Indian that owns the National Herald newspaper. The National Herald is published by Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and owned by Young Indian Pvt Limited.
The ED, officials said, wants to record the statements of Sonia and Rahul under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The agency had recently questioned senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal as part of the investigation.
The questioning of the senior Congress leaders and the Gandhis is part of the ED’s investigation to understand the shareholding pattern, financial transactions and role of the promoters of Young Indian and AJL, officials said.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Congress leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Randeep Singh Surjewala said Sonia Gandhi will comply with the summons and accused the ruling BJP of indulging in “vendetta politics”.
“The Modi government should know that by registering such fake and fabricated cases, they cannot succeed in their cowardly conspiracy,” Singhvi said.
“National Herald newspaper was started in 1942. At that time the British tried to close it, today the Modi government is also doing the same thing as the British did. Now the ED is being used for this purpose… This is politics of vendetta and revenge by the BJP to target Opposition leaders similar to what they have done to other opponents in the country,” said Surjewala.
Hitting back at the grand old party, Union minister Anurag Thakur said the government agencies just do their work. “This is not related to Cabinet decisions and the government agencies do their work.”
With inputs from News18