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National Herald case: Sonia Gandhi seeks more time to appear before ED

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New Delhi, Jun 22: Congress president Sonia Gandhi has sought more time from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before it as she is advised to take rest on account of Covid.

"Since she's been strictly advised rest at home following her hospitalisation on account of Covid & lung infection, Congress Pres Sonia Gandhi has written to ED today seeking postponement of her appearance there by a few weeks till she's recovered completely, Jairam Ramesh tweets.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi

Congress leaders had earlier claimed that Sonia Gandhi is determined to appear before the ED provided she recovered from the virus.

The case pertains to the probe into the alleged financial irregularities in the party-promoted Young Indian that owns the National Herald newspaper. The paper is published by Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and owned by Young Indian Pvt Limited.

The agency wants to record the statements of Sonia Gandhi under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

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,

The members of the first family of the Congress party, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, are among the promoters and shareholders of Young Indian.

The probe agency had registered a fresh case under the criminal provisions of the PMLA after a trial court here took cognizance of an Income Tax Department probe against Young Indian Pvt Ltd on the basis of a private criminal complaint filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.

Swamy had accused Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds with Young Indian Pvt Ltd paying only Rs 50 lakh to obtain the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that Associate Journals Ltd owed to the Congress.

The ED summons triggered furious reactions from the Congress, which alleged that the "fake issue of AJL, (Associated Journals Limited) is an attempt by BJP's propaganda machinery to deviate, divert and digress the attention of citizens from the multifarious vital issues of inflation, falling GDP and social unrest, social divisiveness in this country".

Gandhi, 75, was scheduled to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case on June 8 but had sought more time from the probe agency in view of her Covid infection. The agency has issued a fresh summons to her for appearance before it on June 23.

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