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Security has been beefed up outside the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office in India’s capital New Delhi ahead of Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi’s questioning in the National Herald case.
The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is India’s top economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.
The National Herald corruption case is an ongoing case in a Delhi court filed by Indian economist and politician Subramanian Swamy against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, their companies and associated persons. As per the complaint filed in the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate, Associated Journals Limited (AJL) took an interest-free loan of ₹90.25 crore (US$12 million) from Indian National Congress. It is alleged that the loan was not repaid. A closely held company, Young Indian, was incorporated in November 2010 with a paid up capital of ₹500,000 (US$6,250) and it acquired almost all the shareholding of AJL and all its properties alleged to be worth ₹5,000 crore or US$660 million.
Paramilitary forces have been deployed in nearby areas to avoid any kind of untoward incidents. The police have also deployed extra teams to keep an eye on those visiting nearby areas and lanes.
Sonia Gandhi was summoned twice earlier by the ED, but had sought postponement on health grounds. She is set to join the probe Thursday morning India time. She will reach the ED’s headquarters situated on the APJ Abdul Kalam Road in the national capital, where she will get her statement recorded.
She will be accompanied by her children Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Meanwhile, Congress workers raised slogans at the party office, extending their support to party chief. Congress leaders and MPs had met in the capital Wednesday evening and decided to hold protests across the country against the BJP-led government’s “vendetta politics”. The party has also planned to picket ED offices across the country.
The ED had summoned Sonia Gandhi on June 1 to appear before its investigators on June 8 in the case for the first time in connection with a money laundering case involving the National Herald. The agency had issued similar summons to Sonia Gandhi on June 8 and then on June 21.
However, she could not appear for questioning after testing positive and being hospitalised for Covid-19. After her discharge from hospital, she had asked for more time to appear before the agency.
The ED wants to record Sonia Gandhi’s statements under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Last month the ED had questioned Rahul Gandhi on several occasions in the case. The case to investigate alleged financial irregularities under the PMLA was registered about nine months ago after a trial court took cognisance of an Income Tax Department probe carried out on the basis of a private criminal complaint filed by Subramanian Swamy in 2013.
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