- Congress president Sonia Gandhi has been summoned by ED to appear before it on June 23
- Gandhi was earlier asked to depose on June 8 but she sought a fresh date as she tested Covid +ve
- Her son and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi is expected to be questioned in the same case on June 13
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before it on June 23 for questioning in a money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper, officials said Friday.
Gandhi, 75, was earlier asked to depose on June 8 but she sought a fresh date from the federal probe agency after she contracted the coronavirus infection.
Gandhi has been given the fresh date for June 23 to appear before the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi where her statement will be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, officials said.
Her son and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi is expected to be questioned in the same case on June 13.
The Lok Sabha member from Wayanad was first called on June 2 but after he sought a fresh date as he was abroad, the ED issued a fresh notice for June 13.
The opposition party has decided that all its top leaders and MPs will take out a protest march on June 13 to the ED headquarters here and stage a "satyagrah" against what the party called its "misuse" by the central government.
The probe pertains to alleged financial irregularities in the party-promoted Young Indian that owns the National Herald newspaper. The National Herald is published by Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and owned by Young Indian Pvt Limited.
The agency has questioned senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal in April as part of the investigation.
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, officials had said.
The ED recently registered a fresh case under 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 a "vendetta".
The Congress has termed the charges "fake and baseless" and added the summonses 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 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 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 Suman Dubey and technocrat Sam Pitroda. They have earlier denied any wrongdoing.