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National Herald Case Update: "I Deny Levelling Allegations Of Personal Payment Of Rent, Etc." Says Subramanian Swamy In Cross-Examination

National Herald Case Update Subramanian Swamy
On 3 February, 2020 Subramanian Swamy clarified that in his complaint in the case of the National Herald, he had not made any claims of personal payment of rent, emoluments and benefits to the Directors of Young Indians Ltd. by Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL),  the owners of the National Herald Newspaper.

The statement was made by Swamy during his cross-examination in the case of the National Herald before the Deputy Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja.

This case concerns the assignment of an Rs. 90 crores loan by the Congress Party owned YIL to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL)–owner of the National Herald Newspaper for a consideration of Rs. 50 Lakhs.

In his private complaint, Subramanian Swamy accused Young Indians as well as Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and other leaders of the Congress of cheating under Section 420of theIndian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), criminal conspiracy under Section 120A, criminal breach of trust under Section  405and misappropriation of property under Section 403of IPC. 

Swamy also claimed that the rental income of Rs. 60 lakhs which had accrued to AJL from Herald House Property had been transferred to Young Indian's account.

Rahul and Sonia Gandhi, who are the Directors of Young Indians were represented by Senior Advocate RS Cheema who asked Swamy to appear for cross-examination. 

“In your pre summoning deposition dated 23.06.2014 Ex. CW1/D, you have deposed: ‘Further by becoming the Directors of YIL, the accused persons have duly enriched themselves as the properties of the AJL have been given on rent. In my view, YIL is a sham company and is acting as a special purpose vehicle for acquiring control over Rs. 2000 crores worth of assets of the AJL. Also, the Directors are deriving all the emoluments/benefits as Directors of a Private Limited Company which is not carrying on any business/commercial activity and has authorized capital of just Rs. 5 lakhs. Thus, all the emoluments/benefits being derived by the accused from YIL have in effect originated from the assets of the AJL.’

Hence, in your deposition you are levelling specific allegations of personal payment of rent, emoluments, benefits to the Directors of YIL as a result of transfer of income legitimately accruing to AJL?”

In reply, Swamy said,

“I deny levelling allegations of personal payment of rent, emoluments, benefits of the Directors of YIL”.

Swamy also acknowledged that he had been in the pre-charge stage during his in-chief examination, 

“I did not consider it material to mention it as Section 25 of the Companies Act as I have already mentioned it in my complaint”.

The matter would be heard next on March 21.

On 1 November 2012, Subramanian Swamy filed a private complaint with a court in Delhi alleging that both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had committed fraud and land grabs worth Rs. 16 billion by acquiring a Public Limited Company called Associated Journals Limited (AJL) through their own private company Young Indian. He said that the acquired properties had been provided by the Government only for the purpose of publishing newspapers, but had been used to operate a passport office for rental purposes. 

His complaint before the court further alleges that, on 26 February 2011, AJL approved the transfer of an unsecured loan of Rs. 90 crores from the All India Congress Committee at zero interest with all the said loan having been converted into 9,02,16,898 ordinary shares of Rs 10 each, fully paid up to Young Indians. Swamy argued that it is illegal for a political party to lend money for commercial purposes in accordance with Section 29A to Cof theRepresentation of the People Act, 1951, and Section 13A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, and requested investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and de-recognition by the Indian National Congress Party for the use of public money on 2 November 2012.

The hearing of the criminal case was taken by the magistrate on different dates, while the defendants opposed the petition and asked the magistrate to dismiss it. Finally, the court noted that prima facie evidence against all the accused had been found. The court summoned the defendants to appear before the court to defend themselves against all the allegations made in Swamy's complaint. 

On 26 June 2014, the Metropolitan Magistrate, Ms Gomati Manocha, summoned Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda to appear before the Court on 7 August 2014. She said that, according to the evidence so far, "it appears that YIL was actually created as a sham or a cloak to convert public money into personal use" to gain control over Rs. 20 billion. 

Thereby, the case is still ongoing and will be heard on the next hearing date.

 

Author: Harneet Singh


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