CONGRESS leader Rahul Gandhi appeared before the ED on Wednesday for the third consecutive day of questioning in the National Herald money laundering case, with the agency seeking answers on decisions taken with regard to the media organisation and its owner Young Indian.
Gandhi (51) arrived at the ED headquarters on APJ Abdul Kalam Road in central Delhi around 11.35 am with his “Z+” category CRPF security escort.
He was accompanied by his sister and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as his convoy whizzed past police barricades thronged by media persons and party supporters.
The questioning began at 12 noon and continued for over three hours in the pre-lunch session. He left the ED office for what is understood to be a lunch break and joined the investigation back soon.
The Congress MP has clocked over 24 hours in multiple question and answer sessions over the last two days at the ED office. On Tuesday, the day two, he had left the ED office at 11:30 pm after being questioned for over 11 hours.
Officials said, Gandhi’s questioning could not be completed on Tuesday, and hence, he was asked to appear on Wednesday as well to continue the recording of his statement.
Some 15-16 questions about the incorporation of the Young Indian company, the operations of the National Herald newspaper, the loan given by the Congress to the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and the funds transfer within the news media establishment have been put to Gandhi during the questioning held till now, sources indicated.
In the morning, a huge contingent of police and paramilitary personnel has been deployed around the federal agency’s office, and prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is in force.
Priyanka Gandhi left soon after dropping her brother off at the ‘Pravartan Bhawan’ office of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Vidyut Lane which flanks APJ Abdul Kalam Road.
A number of protesting Congress leaders and supporters were rounded up by the police and bundled into DTC and Delhi Police buses at multiple locations between the ED office and the 24 Akbar Road headquarters of the party. Gandhi is also understood to have been asked about a loan of Rs 1 crore taken by YI from a Kolkata-based company in February 2011 and the rationale behind it.
The questions put to Gandhi, the sources indicated, start from the year 2011 when Young Indian was incorporated. It has also been learnt that the questions cover the changes that took place in the shareholding pattern of the company after that, the procedures followed, and the salaries and VRS given to journalists working in the organisation among other issues.