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Sonia, Rahul accused of fraud.

New Delhi: In the season of scams and exposures, now the ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi are under radar for usurping properties worth billions of rupees of a defunct newspaper.

The Janata Party president Dr. Subramanian Swamy yesterday accused the mother-son duo of transferring building of the National Herald worth Rs. 16 billion to a private limited company in which they hold 78 per cent stakes.

Addressing a press conference, Swamy, a known nemesis of the Congress party, said properties of the Associated Journal Limited, which published National Herald and Urdu daily Quami Awaz, were transferred to the private limited company Young Indian. Associated Journal Limited is a trust set up by Rahul's great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Indian prime minister.

Swamy alleged that the deal between Young Indian and Associated Journals Ltd was a "fraud committed in order to grab the Herald House in Delhi, that is located in a hub and is valued at about Rs 16 billion."

National Herald started publication in 1938 and played an important role in spreading messages of the top Congress party leaders to the masses during India's freedom struggle. After independence, the paper became the mouthpiece of the party. The paper started losing readership and its relevance after demise of Nehru's daughter Indira Gandhi and was finally closed down in 2008.

There are reports that Young Indian is planning to re-launch both newspapers soon under supervision of acclaimed journalist Suman Dubey, a close family friend of the Gandhis.

According to Swamy, Sonia and Rahul had floated a private company called Young Indian, and acquired the public limited company, the Associated Journals Ltd., which is the owner of National Herald and Quami Awaz Newspapers, and all high value real estate property in Delhi and other places in Uttar Pradesh of the said company. The deal is a sham, bogus, and a violation of several laws. It is a fraud committed in order to grab the Herald House in Delhi, that is located in a hub and which is valued at about Rs.16 billion.

Swamy alleged that Jawaharlal Lal Nehru, Indira, Feroze Gandhi, GD Birla and other like noted deceased person, are shown as current shareholders! In fact 80 per cent of the original shareholders are no more alive. So too many of the defunct firms, including several companies having dubious addresses in Kolkata, are shown as shareholders of the Associated Journals Ltd.

On February 26, 2011, the Board of Associate Journal passed a Resolution approving transfer of 90 million shares of the Associate Journal worth Rs. 10 each to Young Indian. The All India Congress Committee (AICC) lent a loan to Young Indian worth Rs. 900 million to facilitate the deal at zero interest rate.

"The deal was to grab the Rs.16 billion worth Herald House and other properties of the National Herald/Quami Awaz in Delhi and in different part of Uttar Pradesh for a commitment to pay Rs.5 million to AICC for the Rs.900 million advanced as unsecured zero interest loan," Swamy said.

Swamy demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into this alleged dubious deal and the illegality of the AICC in giving a loan to a private company.

Incidentally Sonia's son-in-law Robert Vadra is accused of a dubious land deal with the real estate giant DLF I which he made billions of rupees within a few months after the Haryana government changed the land use of farm land Vadra had bought from farmers in Gurgaon district of Haryana and sold the same to DLF after the land was approved for commercial use by the Congress party government of Haryana.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Nov 2, 2012
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