National Herald Case: ED Calls on Mallikarjun Kharge; Piyush Goyal says the government does not interfere in the work of agencies

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Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge accused government of ‘demoralizing’ opposition with the help of central bodies

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge. ANI

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge told the House on Thursday that he has received an “urgent” subpoena from the Enforcement Directorate, investigating a money laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper.

He said the subpoena issued by ED to him was inappropriate as the Parliament session is underway.

“I have received a subpoena from the Enforcement Directorate (ED). They called me at 12.30 pm (on Thursday). I want to obey the law, but is it right for them to call when parliament is in session?” Kharge asked Parliament.

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He further asked: “Is it right for the police to gherao the residences of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi? ..We will not be afraid, we will fight.”

Kharge also accused the government of “demoralizing” the opposition with the help of central agencies.

In response to Kharge’s allegations, Union Minister and House Leader Piyush Goyal said the Center does not interfere in the functioning of law enforcement agencies.

“Maybe they intervened during their (congress) rule, but we didn’t. The opposition’s accusation is unfounded. If they made a mistake, law enforcement agencies will do their duty and find out,” Goyal said.

The ED on Thursday resumed raids on the office of Young Indian (YI), the holding company of the National Herald newspaper, owned by Congress.

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Kharge presented himself before agency officials at the Herald House building in Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg near ITO at around 12:40 PM. The 80-year-old congressional leader met officials of the investigative agency on the subpoena requesting him to be present during the raids on Young Indian in his capacity as the company’s chief officer.

Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi and Party Leader Rahul Gandhi are among Young Indian’s promoters and majority shareholders. Like her son, Sonia also has a 38 percent equity interest.

On Wednesday, ED sealed the Young Indians’ one-room office to “keep evidence” because it could not search it for the past two days because it was locked and no authorized representatives were available.

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PTI news agency quoted officials as saying the on-hold searches of the YI office will now be conducted and all available evidence will be collected

The National Herald newspaper is published by Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) and its holding company is Young Indian. The newspaper bureau is in the name of AJL.

With input from agencies

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