‘Nobody above the law’: On Congress’ dictatorship charge, Smriti Irani’s 8-point questionnaire to Rahul Gandhi

The BJP said that leaders and workers of the Congress hit the streets in the national capital “not to protect democracy” but to “protect over Rs 2,000 crore assets of the Gandhi family”.

The BJP said that leaders and workers of the Congress hit the streets in the national capital "not to protect democracy" but to "protect over Rs 2,000 crore assets of the Gandhi family".

Hitting out at the Congress over its protest march against the Enforcement Directorate over the agency’s summons asking Rahul Gandhi to appear before it in the National Herald case for questioning, the BJP on Monday said that leaders and workers of the Congress hit the streets in the national capital “not to protect democracy” but to “protect over Rs 2,000 crore assets of the Gandhi family”.

Addressing a press conference, BJP leader and Union minister Smriti Irani said the show of strength displayed by the Congress is aimed at putting pressure on the probe agency, and asserted that nobody is above the law, “not even Rahul Gandhi”.

“At the clarion call of the Gandhi family, leaders and workers of the Congress party have descended on to the streets of the national capital to pressurise investigating agencies. A gentleman, who is out on bail, seeks to pressurise an investigating agency which seeks to unravel the corruption of the Gandhi family,” Irani said. 

“Never before has such a blatant attempt been made by one political family to hold investigating agencies to ransom. Never before has a political family been so desirous of protecting their ill-gotten gains as the Gandhi family,” she added.

Irani posed a flurry of questions to the former Congress chief, questioning his family’s relations with Dotex Merchandise, which she described as a hawala operator whose transactions have been flagged by the Financial Intelligence Unit.

Here are Smriti Irani’s questions to Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case: 

In the 1930s, Associate Journal Limited was formed with 5,000 freedom fighters as shareholders. Today, a company that was to be run by freedom fighters has been usurped by the Gandhi family. It is projected that the intent of AJL was to publish newspaper. However, in 2008, it seems that the company declared it shall no longer publish newspapers, but go into the business of real estate. 

It is publicly known that the Congress party has waived off a loan of Rs 90 crore. The question that I humbly to those who have possibly donated money to the Congress party so that democratic values in our country can be strengthened — Did you know that the Congress party, instead of utilising that money for public gain and public service, utilised it to profit the Gandhi family? 

The fact that the Gandhi family had to invite people to protect their real estate interest and their profit, speaks volume of their political character. 

There are a few questions that should be asked to Rahul Gandhi: 

Is it true that M/s Young Indian was incorporated with the intent to carry out charitable activities in 2010? 

Is it also true that in 2016, the same company which is owned by the Gandhi family, has declared that in the six years of its existence, it did not carry out  a single charitable activity? 

The question I hope is answered is this — What is Rahul Gandhi’s relationship or the Gandhi family’s relationship with Dotex Merchandise Pvt Ltd? 

Mr Gandhi, is it true that Dotex merchandise Pvt Ltd is one of the several companies of a Hawala entry operator based out of Kolkata where in lieu of cash, cheques are given? 

Mr Gandhi, is it true that Dotex Merchandise’s transactions have been red-flagged for suspicious transactions by the financial intelligence unit? 

Is it also true Mr Gandhi that today, you have called upon your karyakartas and leaders to the national capital, not to save democracy, but to save your property worth Rs 2,000 crore? That you will try to hold the national capital hostage so that your properties which have been usurped and are a part of ill-gotten gains can be protected? 

This is not a drive to protect democracy. This intended drive is to protect Rs 2,000 crore of the Gandhi family.     

What is the National Herald case? 

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

The questioning of the senior Congress leaders and the Gandhis is part of the ED’s investigation to understand the share holding pattern, financial transactions and role of the promoters of Young Indian and AJL.

The ED recently registered a fresh case under the criminal provisions of the PMLA after a trial court here took cognisance 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.

The Congress party had called the ED action “vendetta”. It has termed the charges “fake and baseless” and added that the summons to the Gandhis was part of the BJP’s “vendetta politics”.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, are among the promoters and shareholders of Young Indian.

Swamy, in his complaint, 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 Delhi High Court had in February last year issued a notice to the Gandhis for their response on Swamy’s plea seeking to lead evidence in the matter before the trial court.

The Gandhis had secured separate bails from the court in 2015 after they furnished personal bonds of Rs 50,000 and one surety. They, however, contended in the Delhi High Court that the plea by Swamy was “misconceived and premature”.

The other accused in this case filed by Swamy are close Gandhi aides Suman Dubey and technocrat Sam Pitroda. They have earlier denied any wrongdoing. 

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