India agency summons Congress’s Gandhis in money laundering probe

Enforcement Directorate summons is linked to a BJP politician’s nine-year-old complaint against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul.

Sonia Gandhi with son Rahul
Rahul Gandhi, right, speaks with his mother and Congress party president Sonia Gandhi [File: Altaf Hussain/Reuters]

India’s financial crime-fighting agency wants to question the two most senior members of the Nehru-Gandhi family, who lead the main opposition Congress party, as it investigates a complaint of money laundering, says the party.

The summons by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is linked to a nine-year-old complaint by a legislator belonging to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, the Congress said on Wednesday.

The legislator, Subramanian Swamy, had accused the Gandhis of forming a shell company and illegally gaining control of properties worth $300m.

“A disgusting and cowardly conspiracy is being hatched against the leadership of the Indian National Congress to mislead the country,” the Congress party said in a statement that condemned the notice sent to the Gandhis.

“The entire party and every worker will stand shoulder to shoulder with them and we will fight and win this attack on the country’s democracy.”

The assets in question belonged to a firm that published the National Herald newspaper, founded in 1937 by India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who was Rahul Gandhi’s great-grandfather.

For his part, Swamy welcomed the ED action and said he hoped the Gandhis would be jailed, adding on Twitter: “From bail to jail as soon as possible.”

An ED spokesperson declined to comment. It was not immediately clear why the agency was acting now.

The Congress party ruled for decades after its founders led India to independence from British colonial rule in 1947. But its fortunes have declined precipitously since the BJP easily defeated it in the general elections of 2014 and 2019.

Source: News Agencies