Herald House: Jaitley asks Congress to clarify

BJP leader Arun Jaitley Friday sought the response of the Congress on the alleged "wrongdoing" by its president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi vis-a-vis the takeover of Herald House in Delhi.

Building on Subramanian Swamy's theme that the Congress had advanced money to take over the building, Jaitley demanded an explanation from the party.

"If the money has not been paid, the matter ends. But in case loans have been advanced, it has serious ramifications as it's mandatory for political parties to use funds only for political purposes and these can't be used for any commercial purpose," Jaitley told reporters here.

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy Thursday said a company allegedly floated by the Gandhis had done a "sham and bogus" deal to "grab the Rs.1,600 crore worth Herald House and other properties of the group and demanded a CBI probe.

The Congress has dismissed the charges while Rahul Gandhi's office threatened legal action.

Jaitley said the board of directors of Associated Journals Pvt Ltd (APPL), owner of the National Herald and Quami Awaz, passed a resolution Feb 26, 2011, saying the Congress had given a loan of Rs.90 crore to the company floated by the Gandhis.

"The Congress must clarify whether the loan has been actually given or not," he said.

Jaitley, here for election campaigning, said Associated Journals was transferred through transfer of shares to Young Indian, the alleged company owned by the Gandhis, which is not a newspaper organisation.

"It is a gross irregularity as exemption from income tax to the donors and political parties were given as incentives for transparent functioning of political parties," the BJP leader said.

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