We supported publishing house according to law: Cong

We want to see if Swamy sues Congress leaders, says Chacko

The Congress on Friday rejected the allegations made by Subramanian Swamy that AICC gave an unsecured loan of Rs 90 crore to Associated Journals Private Ltd (AJPL) to help Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi to fraudulently acquire AJPL’s property worth Rs 1,600 crore.

The party said that the support was extended according to law. “The Congress has done its duty in supporting the AJPL to help initiate a process to bring the newspaper back to health in compliance with the laws of the land. This support was extended by Congress in the form of interest-free loans from which no commercial profit was accrued to Congress,” said Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi in a statement released here.

Congress remarks came after BJP and Swamy sought the party’s reply on the allegations made against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Speaking to reporters in Shimla, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley asked Congress to give specific answer to the charges made by Swamy. The leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha stressed that if Congress says that the allegations made by Swamy were wrong then the matter ends. If not, then the whole issue is one of “gross impropriety and gross illegality”.

Swamy on Thursday had alleged that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had fraudulently acquired the property of AJPL in Delhi, UP and other places worth Rs 1,600 crore.

“Sonia and Rahul had floated a Section 25 private company called Young Indian, each holding 38 per cent shares. This company acquired (AJPL), thus became the owner-publisher of ‘National Herald’ and ‘Quami Awaz’ newspapers and all the high-value real estate properties in Delhi and other places,” Swamy had alleged.

Swamy said public money was used to finance the private company and to acquire AJPL. He said AICC gave an unsecured loan of over Rs 90 crore to AJPL, which Swamy claimed was illegal under Income Tax Act because a political party cannot give loans for commercial purposes.

Rejecting the charges made by Swamy, Congress spokesperson P C Chacko challenged him to approach court. “If they have courage, let them take it to the court, we want to see whether Swamy sues Congress leaders or not…. if they say there has been any violation of I-T law, we challenge it and let them prove it,” Chacko said.

Union Minister Salman Khurshid said: “There is absolutely no basis to these allegations…. It is a Section 25 company so a non-profit company. A non-profit company means no dividends are paid.  There is absolutely no reason for anybody to put a question mark on this”.

Interestingly, JDU chief and NDA convener Sharad Yadav declined to comment on Swamy’s allegations.

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