Updated: Wed, 22 Jun 2022 03:32 PM IST
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the alleged financial irregularities in the National Herald case, on Wednesday requested the central probe agency to delay her questioning for "a few weeks" citing her poor health.
The 75-year-old had tested positive for the highly contagious COVID-19 earlier this month and was admitted to the Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi. Sonia - who was undergoing treatment for a fungal infection in her lower respiratory tract along with post-COVID symptoms - was discharged on June 20.
"Since she's been strictly advised rest at home following her hospitalisation on account of COVID-19 and lung infection, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has written to ED today seeking postponement of her appearance there by a few weeks till she's recovered completely," Jairam Ramesh, Congress' General Secretary in-charge Communications, tweeted.
Sonia and her son Rahul Gandhi were summoned by the ED earlier this month in the National Herald case. While Sonia is yet to appear before the agency, Rahul has been questioned five times till now.
He last appeared before the agency on Tuesday when he was questioned for nearly 11 hours.
The ED is questioning Rahul about the ownership of Young Indian Private Limited (YIL) by the Gandhi family and its shareholding pattern in Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the company that runs the National Herald newspaper, said sources.
The National Herald, started by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was published by the AJL. In 2010, the AJL, which faced financial difficulties, was taken over by a newly-floated YIL with Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda as directors, both of them Gandhi loyalists.
There are allegations that AJL was founded in the 1930s to print National Herald and had 5,000 freedom fighters as shareholders. AJL is now in Gandhi's family ownership. AJL declared in 2008 that it would not print newspapers anymore and will enter real estate.
In 2010, a new firm called YIL is incorporated with Rs 5 lakh and with Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi among other Congress leaders as directors. It pledges to do charity but does none till 2016, as per allegations.
It is also alleged that AJL's 9 crore shares (99 pc of all) are transferred to YIL and that Rahul Gandhi alone holds 75 per cent shares while Sonia and other senior Congress own the rest.
(With inputs from ANI)