Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge was questioned in the National Herald corruption case by the Law Enforcement Branch on Monday, sources said. The 79-year-old Rajya Sabha opposition leader, a bitter critic of the BJP, has been summoned to appear before the authorities.
His statement will be filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as the agency wants to understand some issues in the investigation.
The National Herald corruption investigation – linked to Congress and the Gandhis – has been going on for years. There have been charges of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust in the acquisition of the Associated Journals Limited or AJL by Young Indian Pvt. Ltd (YI).
The National Herald, launched by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was published by the AJL. The daily was said to be a mouthpiece for Congress.
In 2010, the AJL – facing financial challenges – was taken over by a new company called Young Indian Private Limited (YIL) with Suman Dubey and technocrat Sam Pitroda as directors, both loyal to Gandhi.
In a lawsuit filed in the Delhi High Court, BJP’s Subramanian Swamy had accused Sonia Gandhi, his son, Rahul and others of conspiring to cheat and embezzle funds by only paying ₹ 50 lakh, through which Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) obtained the right to recover ₹ 90.25 crores that Associate Journals Ltd, owner of the National Herald, owed Congress.
Seven defendants in the case – Motilal Vora, AICC Secretary General Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and YI and the Gandhis – had denied the charges against them.
Meanwhile, Kharge has relentlessly attacked the BJP over various issues. “In this battle against the BJP, all opposition parties should unite for the BJP to come out to ensure that people can get relief,” the senior Congress official said on Sunday.
(With PTI entries)