Newspapers are meant to expose stories. The Congress and BJP have, however, turned the defunct newspaper, National Herald, into a story worth a tabloid’s front page—a paper weapon to target each other. After its failure to get the Congress to cooperate in running Parliament smoothly, the BJP has decided to publicise the allegedly illegal actions purportedly carried out by the Gandhi Parivar and the Congress, and prove its enemy’s plank of accusing the government of vendetta politics as only a smokescreen to protect the Gandhis. The BJP has prepared a 20-page document ‘Family Greed and National Blackmail’ to be distributed to MPs, central and state ministers and leaders, party cadres, at public rallies and publicised in the social media. Sources said the party is planning a nationwide campaign to expose the Congress’s “anti-development, anti-farmers stance”. On the other hand, the Congress plans to ratchet up the tempo, leading to the Sonia-Rahul march to Patiala House courts accompanied by a contingent of loyalists. Said a senior BJP leader: “With the contents of the charges against in the National Herald case mired in legalese, we are waiting for the Congress response, whether they would let the House function from Monday.” The Congress is holding a meeting on Sunday to discuss its strategy and response concerning the GST bill. A BJP source said, “We want people to understand that the Congress is disrupting Parliament over a court case, which may land the Family in trouble.” The issue leaves them little manoeuvring space in the House. “Sonia and Rahul will try to play sympathy card, so it’s even more important that people should know what the charges against them are. The public is not so naive to believe what they say,” a Union minister told The Sunday Standard. The BJP wants the charges to percolate down to the people, like the case was with 2G and CWG scams. “We are not afraid of their bullying tactics,” said a young Congress MP. “The truth will be out soon and the government will be exposed.”
Associated Journals Limited (AJL), a public limited company with immovable assets, closed printing and publication of the National Herald in April 2008. At the time, it owed the Congress an interest-free loan of `90 crore. This debt is considered a Congress asset. In AJL, Sonia and Rahul hold over three-fourths equity.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had filed a complaint before the trial court in 2012, alleging that Congress leaders were involved in cheating and breach of trust in AJL by Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YIL), as assets worth crores of rupees had been transferred to YIL.
Charges and Counter-charges
BJP: YI, controlled by Sonia, Rahul and other leaders, benefits financially by controlling all properties of the National Herald.
Congress: Directors or shareholders of YI, a non-profit, Section 25 company, are prohibited by law from drawing financial benefits.
BJP: YI owns all properties and assets acquired for a newspaper. Its profits will become a huge taxable income in its hands.
Congress: All AJL assets and income remain with it. No money has been paid to YI or its directors.