THE Janata Party president, Subramanian Swamy has struck again, this time at the heart of the Congress empire. He went public with his allegations of financial impropriety and other assorted malpractices in the National Herald case, directly implicating Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi.
As expected the Congress, particularly Rahul’s office shot off a letter threatning to take legal action against Swamy. The Gandhi bluster stopped there. Despite huffing and puffing, the Congress has not yet dared to sue Swamy. Instead, it is Swamy, who is now moving rapidly to take the Gandhis to court.
On Wednesday, Swamy decided to move court challenging the Election Commission’s decision rejecting his petition for de-recognition of Congress. He shot off a letter to the Commission a day after it dismissed his petition for de-recongition of Congress on the ground that the party violated laws by providing a Rs 90 crore loan to Associates Journals which ran the now-defunct National Herald newspaper.
Stating that he was not given an opportunity to present his case from a legal point of view, he said Election Commission must realise that it has not only to dispense justice as a Tribunal but they must be seen to have dispensed justice.
Swamy wrote: “In my petition that was before you regarding which you have washed off your hands of conducting an inquiry, and through the motivated leaks to the newspapers in advance of the view you took on my petition. He went on to add: “The Election Commission has in fact suffered a serious loss of credibility amongst the people. I shall now have to settle the issues in Court.”
Swamy claimed that the EC has “essentially washed off” its hands by stating that it has no power to de-recognize a political party for violating Section 29A-C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and there was a need for hearings before taking a final call.
He pointed out that these “sub-sections specify what a party can do and therefore by harmonious construction with the General Clauses Act it should be taken to mean that omission of any activity from those approved under these sub-Sections is prohibited.“ He told the EC that “this is an arguable point of law on which you ought to have conducted hearings and heard both sides.”
Swamy alleged that when AICC starts giving loans that ends up in buying real estate and public interests are to be safeguarded. “It is truly the question of interpretation as to the scope and your responsibility under the Model Code of Conduct,” he said.
He also accused the Commission of adopting double standards, claiming that it sat on a petition seeking “de-registration” of his party following his remarks in an article in a newspaper.
After making all possible threats and issuing statements to the media, last week Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi claimed in a press release that the Congress had “done its duty” in supporting Associated Journals to “help initiate a process to bring the (National Herald) newspaper back to health in compliance with the law of the land.” This support, the release noted, “was extended by the Indian National Congress in the form of interest-free loans from which no commercial profit has accrued to INC.”
Trying to justify the move, Dwivedi stated: “It is a matter of pride for the Indian National Congress that it has supported Associated Journals, publisher of the National Herald and other newspapers.” He went on to claim that the Congress has done its “ duty in supporting Associated Journals to help initiate a process to bring the newspaper back to health in compliance with the laws of the land.”
However, as per Swamy’s revelations, Rahul Gandhi’s office had clearly indicated that the party had no plans whatsoever of relaunching National Herald or any other newspaper. There were reports stating that Rahul Gandhi’s office had clarified in an e-mail message that Young Indian, the Section 25 company that was floated with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi as majority shareholders had no intention to relaunch any newspaper.
The e-mail from Rahul Gandhi’s office reportedly observed: “Young Indian is a company registered and holding a licence granted under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956.
As a Section 25 company, Young Indian, is a not-for-profit company and does not have commercial operations. The activities of the company are in the public domain. Anyone who chooses to can inspect the Objects of the Company. The company has no intention of starting any newspaper.”
The other problem is that the transactions that ensured that prime real-estate offered to Associated Journals passed over to a private company in which Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were majority shareholders.
Therefore if Associated Journals, which was started with public donations was not taking off the land that it had secured for the purposes of publishing newspapers should have been returned. Swamy had claimed that the Congress (read the family) is using the land to generate revenue by renting out the premises.
Of course it would only be wishful thinking that the Congress-led UPA government would initiate any probe into the matter. No probe was initiated against Sonia’s son-in-law, Robert Vadra for his dubious deals with DLF.
The Congress-led UPA, painted by the global media as “one of the most corrupt government in India,” is trying to brazen it out. Unfazed and unperturbed, the party ignored the nation and voice of the people by promoting Salman Khurshid, accused of embezzling funds for the disabled through his NGO.