Congress President Sonia Gandhi says that the NDA government is being politically vindictive by targeting her and other Congress leaders including her son Rahul in a case that alleges they misused the funds of a National Herald newspaper once run by the family. “This kind of political witch hunt will only help us and help us to come back faster,” Mrs Gandhi said in parliament confirming that her party has been served notices by the Income Tax department, asking why its tax benefits should not be withdrawn.
Political parties are exempt from taxes on all sources of income. But the Congress allegedly broke the law by loaning Rs 90 crore to a firm Young Indian Company which acquired Associated Journals Limited, the publisher of three newspapers, including the National Herald where the majority stake is owned by the Gandhis. Political parties cannot give loans for commercial transactions.
At the heart of the controversy is a court case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, which has led to the Gandhis being ordered to appear in a Delhi court next month. Mr Swamy alleges that the Gandhis floated the said to control National Herald which was shut down in 2008 by Mrs Gandhi. He says the Congress used its party funds to enable the Young Indians to 76% stake in the Associated Journals and that the Gandhis aimed to grab property worth thousands of crores that belonged to the publishing company.