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Rahul Gandhi Questioned By ED For 4 Hours On 2nd Day Straight In National Herald Case

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was on Monday questioned for around 11 hours in two shifts in which he is understood to have written his statement.

Rahul Gandhi arriving at ED office with sister and fellow Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Rahul Gandhi arriving at ED office with sister and fellow Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday left the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office in Delhi after about four hours of questioning in a money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper.

It was not immediately clear if Rahul would return to the ED office and resume the session or the questioning was over for the day.

Earlier on Monday, Rahul was questioned for over 11 hours by the ED in two shifts. It is understood that he wrote down his statement on Monday under section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) during the first round of questioning that lasted for several hours. 

The case pertains to alleged financial irregularities in the Congress party-promoted Young Indian Limited (YIL) that owns the National Herald newspaper, which is published by YIL-owned Associated Journals Limited (AJL). 

The investigating officer of the case, an assistant director-rank officer of the ED, is understood to have put possible questions about the incorporation of the YIL, the operations of the National Herald, the loan given by the Congress party to AJL and the funds transfer within the news media establishment.

Rahul on Tuesday arrived at the ED headquarters on APJ Abdul Kalam Road in Central Delhi around 11:05 am, accompanied by his sister and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and his statement was recorded under the criminal sections of PMLA, officials said.

Rahul is appearing before the ED after summons were issed to him and Congress President and his mother Sonia Gandhi earlier this month. Their questioning is part of the ED's investigation to understand the shareholding pattern, financial transactions, and role of the promoters of YIL and AJL, officials had said. 
The ED recently registered a fresh case under the criminal provisions of the PMLA after a trial court in Delhi took cognisance of an Income Tax Department probe against YIL on the basis of a private criminal complaint filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.

Sonia and Rahul are among the promoters and shareholders of YIL. Swamy had accused Sonia, Rahul, and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds with YIL paying only Rs 50 lakh to obtain the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that AJL owed to the Congress. The Delhi High Court in February last year issued a notice to the Gandhis for their response on Swamy's plea seeking to lead evidence in the matter before the trial court.

The Gandhis had secured separate bails from the court in 2015 after they furnished personal bonds of Rs 50,000 and one surety. They, however, contended in the Delhi High Court that the plea by Swamy was "misconceived and premature". The other accused in this case filed by Swamy are close Gandhi aides Suman Dubey and technocrat Sam Pitroda. They have earlier denied any wrongdoing.

(With PTI inputs)

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