Cong dares PM to fight battle instead of petty revenge

Congress communications\' in-charge Randeep Surjewala claimed that the Modi government was \"unnerved, perturbed and scared\" by the \"successful Bharat Bandh through which the people of India have sought accountability\". PTI file photo

The Congress Monday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fight a "political battle" with Rahul Gandhi instead of seeking "petty revenge" after the BJP attacked the opposition party over the National Herald case.

The Delhi High Court Monday dismissed the pleas of Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi challenging reopening of their tax assessments for 2011-12.

Congress communications' in-charge Randeep Surjewala claimed that the Modi government was "unnerved, perturbed and scared" by the "successful Bharat Bandh through which the people of India have sought accountability".

"They (the BJP) are now resorting to foolish press conferences by making stupid remarks that have no foundations. Perhaps in the history of this country such stupidity and foolishness may have never been committed by a ruling dispensation," Surjewala said.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, earlier, in a press conference, claimed that the 'Bharat Bandh' call given by the Congress was to divert people's attention from the hearing in the Delhi High Court on a matter related to the National Herald case involving its "corrupt" leaders.

Welcoming the Delhi High Court's order, Patra said it was a "victory of common man."

Surjewala said, "Late in the evening, a BJP spokesperson, who is a Neem Hakeem Khatra-e-Jaan (quack)...was asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do a press conference and level allegations about which he neither has any comprehension, nor understanding."

He alleged that Prime Minister Modi had "directed" the Income Tax Department to reopen income tax returns of the Congress leadership of the year 2010-11 after a period of eight years.

"The malice and malafide are writ large in the fact that all these returns have been duly scrutinised by Modi ji's Income Tax Department itself in the past. We have no problem with that," Surjewala said.

The Income Tax Department is today saying that the loan of Rs 90 crore given by the Congress, which National Herald and Navjivan newspapers could not pay back, is a gain to the shareholders of 'not-for-profit' company Young Indian, who are Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and others, he said.

"Let us presume that this 90 crore is also a gain. Rs 90 crore is the so-called gain and what is the demand for tax – everybody knows it can be maximum of 30 per cent, but Modi ji is saying gain Rs 90 crore - tax Rs 357 crore - 400 per cent higher than the income?" Surjewala said.

He also dismissed BJP's claim that 'Bharat Bandh' was called because of the judgment, in this case, saying, "Did you know what the judgment would be? What kind of stupidity and foolishness it can be?"

"We humbly tell Modi ji, you want to fight Rahul Gandhi ji, we dare you to fight a political battle with him, don't hide behind petty revenge through the Income Tax Department," Surjewala said.

The Delhi High Court bench on Monday also dismissed the petition of Congress leader Oscar Fernandes, who too had challenged the reopening of his tax assessment for the same year (2011-12).

The high court on August 16 had reserved its order on the pleas of the three leaders after the Income Tax Department had contended that Rahul Gandhi's tax assessment for 2011-12 was reopened as material facts were concealed.

In the complaint, Sonia, Rahul and others have been accused of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh, through which Young India had obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that the Associated Journals Ltd owed to the Congress party. 

  • National Herald case
  • Congress
  • BJP