New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi, dismissing allegations of “cheating” in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd by Young Indian Ltd as “without proof”, yesterday told the Delhi High Court that it was done to revive the loss-making publishing company set up to disseminate the policy and principles of the party.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Gandhi, sought to quash the proceeding initiated by a lower court here against her, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and four others, saying the complaint made by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy against them were only “allegations without any supporting proof”.
Sibal refuted Swamy’s claim that Sonia and her son and party Vice-President Rahul, as the majority shareholders of YIL, had benefited from the acquisition by giving indirect ownership and control over AJL’s real estate worth thousands of millions.
“YIL is a Section 25 company and therefore there is no dividend given to the shareholders. It all goes to charity,” Sibal argued.
The response filed by the Congress chief said: “The properties owned by AJL in Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, and Panchkula are under government leases, except for one property in Lucknow which is under a long-term lease to a charitable eye hospital. The covenants of these properties specifically restrict the disposal of these properties.”
Sibal also argued that the Election Commission (EC) had in November 2013 dismissed a similar complaint made by Swamy, in which he had sought Congress’ de-recognition for giving an unsecured loan to a private company.
As the argument remained inconclusive, the court posted the matter for today.