Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi have been asked by a Delhi court to appear before it on August 7 on the basis of a complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, alleging that they had fraudulently acquired Associated Journal Ltd. (AJL), that used to publish the now defunct National Herald newspaper, and transferred its assets worth crores of rupees to another company, Young Indian.
Besides the Gandhis, the other directors of Young Indian are Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, party general secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda — all of whom have been summoned by the court.
Dismissing Dr. Swamy’s complaint as “false and motivated”, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the summons has been issued on a ‘stale’ complaint made in 2013. “We haven’t received the summons but you can be rest assured that a fitting, vigorous and appropriate response will be given after we have received it. We will seek comprehensive legal advice and all their allegations in this respect will be demolished,” Mr. Singhvi said.
On Thursday, Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha, who issued the summons, said: “Young Indian was in fact created as a special purpose vehicle for acquiring control over Rs 2,000 crore worth of assets of the AJL and since all the accused have allegedly acted in consortium with each other to achieve the said nefarious purpose/design, there are sufficient grounds for proceeding against all of them.”
Ms. Manocha held that the accused not only committed “criminal breach of trust but also formed Young Indian to acquire control over the assets of AJL. Young Indian is not involved in any business activity. Thus, the rent/revenue generated by properties belonging to AJL is being dishonestly misappropriated by its directors who enjoy absolute control over AJL’s properties.
From the Archives: Nehru on resuming of the National Herald in 1945