Delhi HC clears decks for IT assessment into National Herald case

The big news Sonia Rahul Gandhi to face I-T probe in National Herald case and 9 other top stories

In a huge setback for Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the Delhi High Court on Friday ordered an Income Tax probe in the National Herald Case.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have 38 per cent shares each in the private company Young Indian which was floated in late 2010.

Earlier, in an application filed by Bhartiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, the Patiala House Court had given its nod to investigate the matter, which the Gandhis challenged in the Delhi High Court.

Swamy had alleged that the Congress granted an interest-free loan of Rs90.25 crore to Allied Journals Pvt Ltd, owner of the National Herald newspaper, which was not repaid - a violation of Section 269T of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

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Besides the Gandhis, Congress leaders Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and YI are accused in the case. "It is better you withdraw and approach the income tax assessing officer", the court observed while refusing relief.

Young India had approached the high court seeking a direction to stay the income tax proceedings and quashing of notices against it with regard to the misappropriation of assets case.

Court summons Gandhis and others as accused in the criminal complaint. He alleged that the Gandhis had set up Young Indian as a special objective vehicle for acquiring control over ₹2,000 crore worth of assets of the AJL.

Swamy had on 10 February filed the list of witnesses before the court which had on 26 December previous year given him the last opportunity to submit the list. In HC, the I-T department too opposed the petition, arguing that the firm has not moved the assessing officer.

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The Gandhis are the main stakeholders in YI and have been accused by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy of cheating and misappropriating funds linked to National Herald newspaper.

Started in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru, National Herald's circulation and financial health steadily deteriorated over decades, leading to its closure in 2008 with a debt of Rs 90 crore on its head. The trial court has fixed the next hearing on May 15 regarding the summoning of further documents in the case. On 20 February, 2016, the fourth accused, Pitroda was granted bail, when he had appeared in the court.

Dec 8: Court directs Sonia, Rahul to appear on Dec 19. But in repaying the loan, YI stepped in to take over AJL. The media is misrepresenting facts, ' Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said while addressing a press conference.

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