New Delhi, Dec 7: The National Herald case has once against established Subramanian Swamy as an irrepressible opponent of the Gandhi family. Delhi High Court on Monday ordered Rahul and Sonia Gandhi to assemble before the Patiala House court on Tuesday and face the charges of prosecution.
The Congress President and Vice President are accused of taking over the defunct media outlet in ambiguous manner through sham transactions carried out through Young India Pvt Ltd, whose 38 per cent of shares are held by Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. (ALSO READ: National Herald case: Congress rejects accusations against Sonia, Rahul Gandhi; alleges political conspiracy)
Here is all you need to know about the National Herald case which could land the Congress top brass behind the bars:
– National Herald was an English daily launched by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938 to garner mass support for Congress-led Independence movement.
– The publication of National Herald, the English daily, its Hindi counterpart Navjeevan and Urdu version – Quami Awaz were controlled by Associated Journal Ltd (AJL). The firm was jointly owned by nearly five thousand Congress leaders and workers.
– Post independence, it was turned into a non-profit company. In 1956, it was included under section 25 of Companies Act which exempted it from taxes.
– As National Herald gradually turned into the mouthpiece of Congress, its popularity declined and readership came crashing down.
– In 2008, the publication of the 70-year-old newspaper, along with its Hindi and Urdu counterpart were halted.
– AJL was suffering a debt of Rs 90 crores.
– Subsequently, a new firm, Young India was floated by Congress top brass. The directors of the firm were Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Suman Dubey, Oscar Fernandes and technocrat Sam Pitroda. 76 percent of the shares were controlled by the Congress President and Vice President, whereas the remaining 24 percent were controlled by Vora, Dubey, Fernandes and Pitroda.
– Young India (registered as a non-profit company) was extended a loan of Rs 90 crores by the Congress party. The extension of loan itself is contentious, since political parties which are exempted from paying taxes cannot provide loans to entities. Secondly, it is not the ethical use of money which is provided by supporters and party financiers.
– Young India, instead of repaying the loans, proposed to clear of the debts of AJL controlled by Congress party. However, before clearing the debts of AJL, it demanded the defunct media house to transfer the ownership to the company. The laughable deal was inked by Motilal Vohra, who was then the chairperson of both AJL and Young India.
– Although AJL was reeling under debts, the total worth of its immovable properties was Rs 5000 crores. As Young India acquired AJL by clearing off its Rs 90 crore debts, it also claimed ownership over all of its assets.
– According to Balance Sheet of AJL of 2010, it owned several publishing departments at prime time locations in Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Panchkula and Bengaluru. The total worth of these properties was roughly calculated to be Rs 5000 crores. Several departments of these publishing houses have been leased out on rents, which is now received by Young India, the new owner of AJL.
– Interestingly, Young India’s 76 percent shares are owned by Rahul, Sonia and remaining 24 per cent by Gandhi family sycophants – Motilal Vohra, Sam Pitroda, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey. Therefore, the sham transaction between AJL and Young India was allegedly conspired by them to takeover the defunct media outlet.
– Congress leadership argues that Young India is a section 25 registered company, and hence, it could not pass over its dividends and profits to any of its ‘shareholders’ or ‘directors’. However, passing over the income earned through assets could be easily done by assigning them as salaries to the management in the books of records.