India’s Congress Party calls meeting of MPs after central agency seals affiliate publication’s office


The Indian National Congress (INC), better known as the Congress Party, called a meeting of all its members of parliament (MPs) on Thursday to chart its response plan after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sealed the Herald House in New Delhi, the country’s capital.

The ED is India’s federal economic intelligence and law enforcement agency.

The party’s former President Rahul Gandhi, who was in touring the southern Indian state of Karnataka, returned to New Delhi on Wednesday night and is expected to participate in the meeting.

The Congress Party has maintained that it will go ahead with its scheduled protest on inflation and GST (Goods and Services Tax) on Friday despite being denied permission.

It has also accused the ruling dispensation led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of treating party leaders as “terrorists”.

Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said during a media briefing on Wednesday, “The entire country is watching as an investigating agency has been deployed mindlessly against the leadership of India’s oldest political party. You (the BJP) are treating this party, its leaders and institutions as terrorists.”

The briefing came soon after the ED sealed the office of Young Indian Pvt Ltd located in the Herald House in New Delhi days after the party’s interim President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi were grilled in connection with the National Herald case.

The ED action pertains to the ongoing National Herald 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 in New Delhi, Associated Journals Limited (AJL) took an interest-free loan of ₹90.25 crore (US$11 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 and it acquired almost all the shareholding of AJL and all its properties, alleged to be worth ₹5,000 crore (US$630 million). Swamy alleged criminal misappropriation by both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have been questioned by the ED this year for several hours on each of the at least eight occasions.

Singhvi said, “The word fear is not there in the Congress party’s dictionary. The voice of the party’s leadership will not be silenced with such “cheap tactics”.