The National Herald Case was filed by Indian politician Subramanian Swamy against politicians Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, and their companies and associated persons in the court.
The National Herald was an Indian newspaper established in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru. The paper finally ceased operations in 2008. Begun by Nehru at a time when he seemed unable to make an impact on the reactionary tendencies of the Congress Party it served as his mouthpiece allowing him to address and endorse unpopular stances that he would not have been able to defend as a politician through his editorial pieces for the paper. While the paper suffered from financial troubles from the outset and was shut down briefly in the 1940s and 1970s, it finally ceased operations in 2008
The National Herald, before its closure was being run by Associated Journals.There were reports that the paper was being revived under journalist Suman Dubey, technocrat Sam Pitroda and the newly incorporated Young India Company headquartered at Herald House.The paper was to have come out by Children’s Day in 2011 but Rahul Gandhi, a member of the board of the Young Indian Company has denied any plans on the part of the company to revive the paper
In 2014, the court in Delhi, took up the issue of where the assets of Associated Journals (AJPL) who published The National Herald were distributed after the closure of the paper.Earlier in 2012, Rahul Gandhi had said that he would sue over allegations that his company, ‘Young Indian’, acquired Associated Journals (AJPL) improperly.
On 17 August, 2015 it was reported that the Enforcement Directorate had decided to close the case citing “technical reasons”.Subsequently on 18 September, 2015 the Enforcement Directorate decided to reopen the case
On 1 November 2012, Subramanian Swamy alleged that both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have committed fraud and land grabbing to a tune of ₹16 billion (US$240 million) by acquiring a public limited company called Associated Journals Private Ltd (AJPL) through their owned private company, Young Indian.Through this they had got publication rights of National Herald and Quami Awaz newspapers, with real estate properties in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The acquired place was intended only for newspaper purposes but were used for running a passport office, amounting to lakhs of rupees, it alleges.
It further alleges that on 26 February 2011 AJPL approved the transfer of unsecured loan of ₹900 million (US$13 million) from the All India Congress Committee at zero interest.Subramanian argued that it is illegal for any political party to lend money for commercial purposes as per “Section 29A to C of the RPA (1951) and Section 13A of IT Act (1961)” and demanded investigation by the CBI and seeking de-recognition of the party for using public money.On 2 November, the party responded that the loan was given only for reviving National Herald newspaper with no commercial interest.
The hearing of the case had been taken up thereafter on different occasions and on 1 August 2014 the Enforcement Directorate initiated probe to find any money laundering in the case while on the same day Swamy was served notice by the High Court.On 28 August the metropolitan court fixed 9 December for the next hearing of the case,while on 12 January 2015 the judge of the Delhi High Court recused himself from hearing the case stating that schedule of cases has been changed and directed that the petitions be directed before an appropriate bench.On 27 January 2015, the Supreme Court asked Swamy to make out a case for the speedy trial in the Delhi High Court since the petition cannot be heard directly.
On 18 September 2015 it was reported that the Enforcement Directorate had reopened the investigation. On 8 December 2015 the Delhi High Court on hearing separate pleas asked Sonia, Rahul Gandhi and five others to appear in person before the Court on 19 December.
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