The office of the Young Indian in Delhi has been sealed by the Enforcement Directorate over a case linked to the National Herald newspaper. Police was deployed outside the home of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, questioned in connection with the issue.
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Sources in the Enforcement Directorate said the office of the Young Indian at Delhi's Herald House was temporarily sealed as there was no one from their side to in whose presence searches could be conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The principal officer, senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge, has been summoned to get the search concluded. As and when the authorised person presents himself for concluding the search, seal will be lifted, sources said.
Besides temporarily stationing additional police personnel outside the 10 Janpath Road residence of Sonia Gandhi, the police also temporarily barricaded the roads leading to the Congress headquarters.
The Congress held a meeting of its senior leaders including Salman Khurshid, Mallikarjun Kharge, Pawan Bansal and P Chidambaram.Declaring that the party is under "siege", senior party leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted, "Delhi police has surrounded our HQs, and homes of INC President & ex-President.This is the worst form of vendetta politics. We will not submit! We will not be silenced! We will continue to raise our voice against injustices and failures of Modi Sarkar!"
"National Herald was started by Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.. etc. to involve the people of India in the freedom struggle. Today the investigative agency ED is being misused to tarnish it and the image of Congress. Not only against us, ED is being used against every opposition party in the country to destabilise the governments," senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.
The Enforcement Directorate raided the offices of National Herald in Herald House yesterday. Eleven other locations linked to the AJL (Associated Journals Limited) were also raided.
The raids came days after the Enforcement Directorate questioned Sonia Gandhi in an alleged money laundering case linked to the newspaper. The ED has also questioned Rahul Gandhi -- Sonia Gandhi's son and former Congress chief -- for about 50 hours in the case.
Yesterday's raid was followed by vehement Congress protests. Calling it "vendetta politics", Jairam Ramesh tweeted, "The raids on Herald House, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg are a part of the continued attack against India's principal opposition-Indian National Congress".
The Young Indian took over Associated Journals Limited, which runs the National Herald. It took over 800 crores in assets of AJL and according to the Income Tax department, this should be considered an asset of Young Indian shareholders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, for which they should pay tax. The Congress has claimed that the Young Indian is a non- profit, and so the shareholders cannot make any money from its assets.
The Enforcement Directorate has argued that Young Indian has not done any charitable work and cannot claim benefit. Its only transaction was the transfer of AJL's debt. The Congress has countered that the newspaper is the charity.