Rahul Gandhi asks the court to gag media on National Herald case, Court declines

Young Indian Pvt Ltd, whose largest stakeholders are Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, had not long back approached the Delhi High court, seeking a stay on the Rs 249.15 crore income tax proceedings against it. Rahul Gandhi had challenged Income Tax authority’s order to reopen his tax assessment related to the National Herald and Young Indian transactions.

Coming down heavily on Gandhi, the court rejected the plea and granted no interim relief to Rahul in Income Tax reassessment notice for FY 2011-12 issued by tax department in March this year. The IT department informed the court that AICC had given Rs. 99 crore to Associated Journals Limited (AJL) which publishes the Congress’ mouthpiece National Herald, and that Rahul had wilfully chosen not to disclose he was a director in Young Indian Pvt Ltd. To that, the court said that it will determine whether Rahul Gandhi was under any obligation to disclose these details or not.

Sonia, Rahul, Young Indian (YI) and others were earlier summoned as accused by a trial court in the National Herald misappropriation of assets case. The crux of the case lies in the fact that the Indian National Congress/All India Congress Committee (AICC) had over the years advanced a loan of 90 crore rupees to Associated Journals Limited (AJL), which published its mouthpiece, the National Herald. These loans were later sold cheap for just 50 lakhs rupees and were used to give a 99% stake in AJL to the Gandhis, via the company Young Indian (YI), thus transferring the ownership of valuable assets owned by AJL to YI.

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However, this was not the only bombshell dropped at the bigwigs. Along with rejecting the plea, the Delhi High Court also denied staying media reporting, which the counsel for Rahul Gandhi had asked the court to consider.

In a paltry display of double-standards, where on one hand the ‘benefactor of freedom of expression’, Rahul Gandhi, who does not leave a single opportunity to endorse himself and his party as flag-bearers’ of this fundamental right, has conveniently shifted goals when it comes to reporting a case that involves him.

However, setting contradictory standards is not something which is unexpected from the Congress President. Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar had summarized his harrowing experience during “Indu Sarkar” by the Congress, including disrupting of screening of the movie. A spoof video featuring Rahul Gandhi had enraged the party enough to file a police complaint. Even recently, a Congress leader from West Bengal took an offence to the show ‘Sacred Games’ for depicting former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in ‘poor light’.

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