The National Herald case has hit Mumbai Congress too, in the mid of controversy Mumbai Congress said it would launch a ‘jail bharo’ agitation if the Centre continues its “political vendetta” against the party and its leaders in the National Herald case. Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India did not find any merit in the case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. Even the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had found no wrongdoing and closed the case in August this year. However, the Centre sacked the ED director, who recommended the closure and reopened the case a month later. If Swamy had filed the case in his individual capacity and not on behalf of the party then how he is holding a press conference at BJP’s headquarters minutes after the court ruling, which indicates the vendetta. Many Congress leaders held a protest march in Mumbai against this issue including the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
In a big jolt to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, the Delhi high court recently rejected their pleas for quashing the summons against them in the National Herald case and also turned down their plea for exemption from personal appearance in the case in the trial court. One of the points made by Congress was that no shareholders had complained that he has been cheated. Now, Shanti Bhushan has claimed that he inherited shares of National Herald and has complained in 2011 itself that this transaction is not fair. By this, either the lies of Congress have exposed or everyone is collectively trying to sabotage grand old party. At the first instance, the question arises why a loan was given to AJL when the company (as said) has a property of several thousand crores. Well! Even if we accept that there was a sentimental reason for which the loan was provided to the company then why the publishing business was never developed. Instead the whole company was transferred to YI for a pittance without either getting the cost or making proper assessment of the assets or shares. These questions may have to be answered to the satisfaction of the Courts before Gandhis to get any relief. An easy solution for YI is to restore the status quo ante.
Anyway, Gandhis should boldly face the court proceedings. It is a prestige issue. They should stop their men who are opposing the Gandhis for going to court. If they are leaders of the national party, they should be ready to challenge Subramanian Swamy. Helping or supporting somebody in their wrong deeds is not less than a crime. Congress is wasting crores of tax payers’ money by stalling the proceedings of the Parliament.
Motilal Nehru and Jawaharlal Nehru gave their life, profession and properties for the benefit of this country and their ‘so called’ descendants are only interested in self-aggrandizement. Further disruption in Parliament seems likely, as the senior Congress leadership decided to stick to its aggressive stance against the ruling BJP for the coming week. While stoking up its cry over the National Herald controversy, the party will be insistent on waiting for the government’s outreach on the contentious Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. Sonia Gandhi felt that the party wasn’t getting a fair space in media to explain its viewpoint on the National Herald controversy. Ms. Gandhi asked the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, to urge the party leaders with legal expertise to be more accessible to press reporters and news channels and rebut every allegation “point by point.”
Earlier, P. Chidambaram told some media houses that the acquisition of Associated Journals Limited (AJL) had turned its assets “doubly” secured today. He ruled out “illegality” in the transfer of shareholder rights from AJL to Young India, a non-profit company in which Ms. Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi own 38 per cent shares. Justifying the shareholding rights of the Gandhis, Chidambaram said it was a “reflection of the Congress party structure”. The lender is a non-profit company. In fact, the High Court on December 7 seems to have dismissed the petitions of the Congress leaders in order to give them a fair chance to clear the name of the “legendary national party”.
Associated Journals Private Limited (AJL), a public limited company with immovable assets, formally closed printing and publication of newspapers like The National Herald, etc, in April 2008. At the time, it owed the Congress an accumulated debt of Rs. 90 crore the party had loaned it on interest free basis from time to time. This debt is considered as an asset to the Congress. The Congress declares that AJL has negative worth. It assigned the Rs. 90 crore debt owed to it by AJL to a charitable private company called Young Indian Private Company, which has a share capital of just Rs. 5 lakh. The private charitable company pays the Congress a sum of Rs. 50 lakh as consideration for transferring the Rs. 90 crore debt to it. The shareholding of the original 761 shareholders is reduced to 1 per cent. Young Indian acquires complete control of AJL which has real estate assets of at least Rs. 2,000 crore in prime areas of New Delhi, Lucknow, Bhopal, Mumbai, Indore, Patna, Panchkula and other places. The conservative real estate worth of AJL is calculated at Rs. 5,000 crore. Having possession of the vast real estate, the Young Indian declares that it will not engage in publishing a newspaper, including The National Herald, as it is against its declared objective.