A day after AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi threatened to pursue “all legal actions” against Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, the Congress on Friday admitted to having extended financial help to Associated Journals Ltd.
In a statement released here on Friday evening, Congress spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi said Associated Journals Ltd was extended an interest-free loan.
However, he defended it saying that since there was no profit accrued from such a loan, there was no question of wrongdoing. In fact, it was a measure aimed at bailing out a sick newspaper.
Earlier in the day, Congress spokesman PC Chacko, speaking to the press, challenged Subramanian Swamy to prove the allegations of wrongdoings against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul in the court in the Herald House issue.
“If Swamy has guts, he should sue Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. It is for those who make allegations to prove the charges. If there is a violation let them take it to court,” Chacko said.
However, Chacko tried to evade a direct reply on whether his party would sue Subramanian Swamy as threatened by Rahul on Thursday.
“We have sent a letter from Rahulji’s office and that amounts to legal notice. We want to see whether he will sue us. We have reminded him that what he has said is defamatory. We will not succumb to such blackmailing tactics,” Chacko added.
Maintaining that certain persons were trying to mislead and gain out of the confusion, Chacko said: “If there is any violation of Income-Tax Act or the Companies Act, we challenge them to prove it. There is no commercial transaction.”
Meanwhile, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said in Shimla that if it was true that such a transfer had taken place, then it would lead to various consequences for the Congress, including withdrawal of tax exemption.
Swamy had on Thursday claimed that the mother-son duo held 76 pc shares in Young Indian Pvt Ltd, which took over Associated Journal, the publisher of the Congress mouthpiece National Herald.
He also alleged that Rahul did not mention his shares in the affidavit filed along with his nomination paper before the Election Commission ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and instead the Congress general secretary wrote “nil” in the column where he was supposed to mention his shares and debentures.
Swamy further alleged that Associated Journal obtained an unsecured zero interest loan of over `90 crore from the AICC, which was “illegal because no political party can enter into a commercial contract”. Later, for a mere `50 lakh, Young Indian wrote off the loan due to AICC.