New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate summoned Rahul Gandhi again to appear before the agency on June 13 after he could not make it to the June 8 appointment as he was out of the country.
Congress says it will hold special media conferences on the same.
But there is a sea change in the country’s polity, state of politics and governance.
There is a relation between Rahul Gandhi and Feroze Gandhi – one the grandson and the other a grandfather.
But does the similarity end here?
Irony does not seem to die off. While Rahul has been summoned on the ‘National Herald’ case by the ED for alleged corruption and malpractices, his illustrious granddad – Indira Gandhi’s husband, had paradoxically taken up the cudgel against the corruption of his time.
Decades ago in December 1955, Feroze Gandhi had tried to ‘expose’ how Ram Kishan Dalmia, chairman of a bank, had allegedly sought a takeover of Bennet and Coleman and had started ‘transferring money illegally from publicly held companies for personal benefits.
In 1958, Feroze Gandhi had played the whistleblower again and raised the Haridas Mundra scandal involving the government-run LIC and a Kolkata-based businessman.
According to old records and media reports, the episode provided “a huge embarrassment to the clean image of the Nehru government”.
In contrast his grandson (former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s son) – Rahul Gandhi – got himself as a director of a company called Young Indian. The said company with a capital of Rs 50 lakhs could acquire all shareholding of ALJ worth Rs 5,000 crore.
The Enforcement Directorate had in 2020 attached one of the prime properties in Mumbai’s Bandra location under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The market value of the property is stated to be
the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees and allegedly allotted to Associated Journals Limited (ALJ) illegally.
It had done so in May 2019 with a property in Gurugram worth Rs 65 crores in the same ‘National Herald case.
For records it has to be noted that Rahul Gandhi was appointed director of Young Indian. This company got all the benefits in a clear one-sided deal, on December 13, 2010, while his mother Sonia Gandhi joined the board of directors on January 22, 2011.
The Supreme Court has in the past upheld the Income Tax Department’s decision to re-open tax assessment of concerned players for the financial year 2011-2012 in connection with the ‘National Herald Case’.
The ED had in December 2018 attached property worth Rs 30 crore in Mohali.
The Bandra plot in Mumbai came under the scanner only after BJP leader Dr Subramaniam Swamy had filed a case accusing them of misappropriating the National Herald’s properties.
The said property in Bandra in Mumbai was provided to ‘National Herald’ in 1983 at concessional rates to publish the newspaper.
In contrast to all these, the expose by Feroze Gandhi on the Mundra scandal had actually brought to light the latent rift between Jawaharlal Nehru and his son-in-law (Feroze Gandhi) in a big way.
The gory episode had also led to the resignation of India’s Finance Minister T T Krishnamachari.
Old-timers among Congress leaders and even socialists a few years back had said, unlike the ‘Gandhis’ of the new century in Indian politics, Feroze Gandhi was known for his sober ways, and simple living and was indeed a Gandhian.
This was in the context of the frequent appearance of Robert Vadra in ‘page-3 parties’ in all pomp and show.