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National Herald case: Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will create history by becoming the first Gandhi family members to appear before a lower court
Congressmen especially Gandhis are born aristocrats. Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of independent India, who although a democratically elected leader of a poverty stricken country, enjoyed supreme power and a lavish lifestyle. His subsequent heirs too continued to enjoy similar privileges. The history of the period of almost more than 60 years during which the Congress ruled the country resembled more like a monarchy where supreme power was transfered from father to daughter, and from mother to son.

Until now, there has hardly been an incidence where law has been harsh on Congressmen, especially when it involves the Gandhi family, during successive Congress governments ruling at the Centre. It was way back in 1997 that senior Congress leader and former Prime Minister PV Narshimha Roa was asked to appear before the CBI at Tis Hazari court in Delhi, but since Delhi Police found it difficult to secure the area, the venue of the CBI court was shifted to Vigyan Bhawan due to security reasons.

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was sent to jail during the Janta Party government regime but still did not face trial by a lower court as she was convicted by the Allahabad High Court for electoral fraud in 1975, after which she imposed an Emergency in the country, thus saving herself from the agony of facing trial in a lower court.

In a recent development Delhi High Court on Monday rejected the pleas of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for exemption from personal appearance before a trial court in the much talked about National Herald case. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were supposed to appear before the local trial court at Patiala House in Delhi at 10.30 am today, that would have made them the first members of the Gandhi family to appear before a lower court. But that did not happen today, as they approached the Supreme Court for seeking relief.

Congress leader and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared on behalf of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi at the Patiala House court today which provided temporary relief to the mother-son duo by asking them to appear before the court on 19 December at 3 pm along with five other accused in the case. It was almost certain that the Gandhis will not appear in the court today as Rahul Gandhi had already left for Puducherry today early morning, ignoring his date with the court.

Meanwhile Congressmen stalled proceeding in both houses of the Parliament by shouting slogans that Modi government was behind the National Herald case. A confident looking Sonia Gandhi today said, "Why should I be scared of anyone? I am Indira Gandhi's daughter-in-law, I am not scared of anyone." Sonia Gandhi is maintaining that it is a case of political vendetta against her.

What is the National Herald case all about?

National Herald newspaper was started in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru, as a Congress party mouthpiece. The publisher of National Herald, the Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) had 5000 shareholders who were either Congressmen or Congress sympathizers. In 2008, National Herald stopped its publications including the Urdu daily Quami Awaz. However, the total real estate assets owned by National Herald are valued at Rs 5,000 crore, with properties located at Delhi, Lucknow, Patna, Mumbai and Panchkula.

In March 2011, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi floated a firm by the name of Young India Limited (YIL) with an investment of Rs 5 lakh, in which both Rahul and Sonia had 38% share each, while Congressmen Moti Lal Vora and Oscar Fernandes held the rest 24%.The AICC (All India Congress Committee) extended a loan of Rs 90.21 crore to AJL. When AJL expressed its inability to repay the loan amount, YIL decided to take a controlling interest in AJL, and thus the entire assets of National Herald got transferred to YIL, which means that a company which began with an investment of Rs 5 lakh accumulated assets worth 2,000 crore within a matter of months, just on similar lines of what Robert Vadera did in his land deals. Rahul taught Vadera or he taught Rahul this fine art of money making is an intriguing question.

Moreover, a few properties owned by National Herald are leased out and fetch monthly rentals, which includes a prime real estate property in New Delhi which alone is leased out at Rs 60 lakh per month. It is anybodies guess who is benefiting from that income now.

This entire scam came to light after senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy moved to court in November 2012 by filing a petition alleging that Rahul and Sonia had committed fraud and land grab by transferring assets of a public limited company through their owned private company.

It is not surprising to see the Congress involved in another scam as it has had a long history of scams which look like continuing till eternity, from Bofors to The National Herald, the list is endless. 

What does it mean for the Congress now?

This court ruling asking both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to appear in person could not have come at a worse time for the Congress, as it is lowest in numbers in the Lok Sabha with just 44 seats. Furthermore in the age of 24x7 news channels and hyperactive social media, the pictures of the mother-son duo visiting a local trial court in Patiala House will not be a pleasing sight, and that too in a criminal case of fraud and cheating. 

If Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are convicted and put behind bars, it would virtually mean curtains for the Congress as well for the political future of Rahul Gandhi, who is waiting in the ranks to be anointed as the next president of Congress. Probably that is why the entire Congress brigade has resorted to stalling the Parliament and shouting slogans, nullifying any possibility of smooth passage of bills which are of benefit to the nation. Vested political interests have become a bigger priority than the grief of the common man of this country.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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