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National Herald and the crooked history of Congress leadership

The moment Gustaakh-e-Rasool (Insult to the Prophet) armies were removed from the streets, Gustaakh-e-Rahul (Insult to Rahul) fanatics hit the roads.

India has seen a hectic and horrible fortnight. As the nation struggled to step out of the dark, demonic shadows of the global pandemic, crooked politicians worked overtime to create a civil-war like situation on the ground. An interview of opposition leader Rahul Gandhi in London claiming India to be a tinder-box waiting for one spark to burn the whole country down marked the end of a brief lull after the Farm Laws were taken back by the Prime Minister, after months of mob violence and mayhem. 

Be that as it may, the danger of enemies for any nation is only as serious as the propensity of the people to attack their own nation at the behest of them is. Unfortunately, the current breed of desperate politicians would have made the job easier for any foreign forces wanting to destabilise India. Any gap in violent riots between protests against Nupur Sharma and protest against Agnipath scheme launched to offer an exceptionally good offer for non-graduate students was dutifully covered by the rioting minions of Rahul Gandhi who went around protesting on the streets immediately after the Friday violence in the name of blasphemy was unleashed by the Islamist. The moment Gustaakh-e-Rasool (Insult to the Prophet) armies were removed from the streets, Gustaakh-e-Rahul (Insult to Rahul) fanatics hit the roads.

The Congress leaders created mayhem, the national capital was thrown out of gear simply because an official investigating agency, the Enforcement Directorate, called Rahul. Sonia Gandhi promptly was detected with Covid and hospitalised. The interesting thing here is that while the Congress Chief Ministers of two States and other state cadres were moved in to protest, there was not even a pretence to project the image of spontaneous street protests.

The whole sham was planned by the first family of the Congress and everyone stated so without any shame or hesitation. It was as if questioning the man who is not even Chief of Congress is an act of blasphemy. The general theme being that owing to the illustrious lineage of Rahul Gandhi, the nation even when it has reasons to suspect corruption, must not ask question and should rather surrender and acquiesce with a sense of eternal gratitude towards the family. Some even funnily put out the posters claiming Rahul Gandhi to a descendant of Mahatma Gandhi. Never in the recent history, a clerical error about the surname of one Mr. Feroze Ghandy would have created such moments of historic buffoonery in the life of any modern nation. 

Dr. Ambedkar had spoken in his speech in the Constituent Assembly about such silent servitude that Congress demands from the whole nation, merely on account of the good name of his ancestors. On 25th of November, 1949, Dr Ambedkar had said in his speech in the Constituent Assembly, now famous as ‘Grammar of Anarchy’, quoting Irish Leader Daniel OConnel –

No woman can be grateful at the cost of her chastity and no nation can be grateful at the cost of its liberty. 

This one statement is so powerful that it takes away the air behind the whole argument that the Government cannot rightfully even investigate a matter of corruption because it involves the first family of Congress which has illustrious history. Coming to the current leadership of the Congress, their brushes with corruption charges are not new. We are not even going back the very old history of Jeep scam and Revolver scams under Nehru (even Jairam Ramesh, a Congress Loyalist concedes in his book ‘A Chequered Brilliance’ that there were intermediaries, they were old acquantances to Krishna Menon and that Commissions were paid. After this Nehru, wound up Parliamentary Committee investigating the matter, brought Menon into cabinet and made him Defense Minister, where he ingloriously presided over India’s lone Military defeat of the century, in 1962), rather limit ourselves to the current Congress leadership only.  

While Sonia Gandhi has been largely projected by the Congressmen and allied media as someone above human failings like greed, ambition etc., such claims are based on the assumption of short public memory (after all, when Manmohan Singh was projected as a totally apolitical man, who remembered his role in granting money to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, created within a month of Rajiv Gandhi’s death and his failed electoral foray in Delhi). The first family of Congress has largely been expert in such convoluted, complicated financial deals and money-making schemes. 

Maruti was one such scam which came out in open during Emergency, and since it was emergency no one wrote about it then out of fear and later out of greed. Late Journalist Vinod Mehta wrote in much detail about it in his book ‘The Sanjay Story: From Anand Bhavan to Amethi’. By 1974, when to the whole India and even to Sanjay it was clear that the cheapest car is not going to happen, Sanjay moved into selling Cement and Steel which he got for setting up the plant as scraps in open market. Remember those were License-raj days and it wasn’t allowed to sell these commodities in open market. The names of fake companies to make money started coming out. It was also not that this was done out of desperation on account of failure to launch Maruti. The net was woven before even Maruti, the car company was registered. A Private Limited company called Maruti Technical Services (MTS) came into being before Maruti, the car maker was launched to siphon the funds. Gandhi family owned 99 percent shares in MTS. It had Sanjay Gandhi together with three other Gandhis as partners, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. A person called Shroff was the Motilal Vora of this deal. Sanjay had invested 1.25 Lakhs in this subsidiary company and put in 100 rupees in Maruti when it was launched. 

Sonia Gandhi was appointed as Managing Director of MTS with a monthly salary plus one percent in net profit and other perks as compensation. A 20-year engagement was formalised between MTS and Maruti for providing consulting services to Maruti, in return of 2% of net annual value of sale. An upfront amount of five lakhs was paid to MTS for offering as per the contract – the supply of expertise for design, manufacture and assembly of cars’. The entire investment of Sanjay Gandhi was recovered in few months and within one year, the hollow organization of four members was sitting on an appreciation of 150 Percent on their investment.

By 1975, author explains, that MTS had made around 10 Lakhs (it was 1975, remember), and created another firm, Maruti Heavy Vehicles (P) Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary with MTS of Sanjay, Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka holding 59% stake. MHV again was supposed to pay 2% for consulting which miraculously enabled MHV to produce goods worth Rs 16 Lakhs with machinery worth Rs 12,331 (The Sanjay Story, Vinod Mehta). Rajiv Gandhi then claimed that Sanjay got papers signed by Sonia, but then the money was flowing and no one has denied that. Vinod Mehta confidently pointed towards the current Gandhi family being accomplice to this complicated scam. 

So we know, this creation of a web of companies in which nothing gets made, nothing gets sold and still people make money is not new.

This AJL, Young India and National Herald story is not a new one and has been played before by the family. National Herald was a news paper started by Nehru in 1938 in London. Contrary to the popular belief, Associated Journal Limited, which in the beginning ran National Herald, had ownership spread across 5000 freedom fighters. Nehru placed Feroze Gandhi at its helm as a kind of rehabilitation of his son-in-law, post-independence.

The editorial team resented this and by the time Feroze resigned National Herald, it was already in losses. In 2008, the paper had a debt of Rs 90 Crores. In 2010, Gandhi family formed a Young India Ltd., a Not-for-Profit, which promptly acquired National Herald and with it, all its assets. The dealings in this case are even more messier than the Maruti-MTS saga. Using the identity of National Herald as a media organisation, lands were allotted, those lands were pledged to borrow loan from banks, to obtain Rs 120 Crores in order to build a 9 story building in Bandra (East), Mumbai.

The numbers are mind boggling, and the web is complex. Two things are certain, things are not straight and those involved have a crooked history. This landlord mindset of lack of accountability has gone for too long as we did not question Nehru as to why Menon was rehabilitated but also elevated to the Defence minister out of gratitude pushed on to the citizen of India. if one is to believe Ambedkar and his detailed analysis of the fund Congress raised as Tilak Memorial Fund, this waywardness and arbitrary utilisation of public funds by the party has gone way too long. But that is the story for some other day.  

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Saket Suryesh
Saket Suryeshhttp://www.saketsuryesh.net
A technology worker, writer and poet, and a concerned Indian. Saket writes in Hindi and English. He writes on socio-political matters and routinely writes Hindi satire in print as well in leading newspaper like Jagaran. His Hindi Satire "Ganjhon Ki Goshthi" is on Amazon best-sellers. He has just finished translating the Autobiography of Legendary revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil in English, to be soon released as "The Revolitionary".

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