Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Thursday alleged a private company in which Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi held 38% shares each, had acquired prime National Herald property with the help of an unsecured loan from the AICC and "illegally" rented it out.
The charge was promptly dismissed by the Congress - that called Swamy a person "who could speak anything, anytime" - as well as Rahul Gandhi, who said he would sue Swamy.
Asserting that the allegations were baseless, Gandhi's office issued a statement promising to pursue "all legal actions against the scandalous abuse…"
"We shall pursue all proceedings that are available in law to ensure that an individual like you and an organization like yours do not abuse the freedom to speak and write" in violation of the need to maintain the dignity of individuals and organizations, the statement added.
Swamy alleged that 'Young Indian', a private firm, acquired Associated Journals (AJPL) that publishes National Herald. He claimed the AICC gave an interest-free loan to AJPL, which gave shares worth Rs. 90 crore to Young Indian.
Young Indian, Swami alleged, then wrote off the loan due to AICC for just Rs. 50-lakh, charging that "the deal was to grab the Rs.1,600-crore worth Herald House and other properties of National Herald/Quami Awaz in Delhi and… UP".
Swamy made many allegations of "illegality": that a political party could not give loans for a commercial purpose; that the renting out of Delhi's Herald House to Passport Seva Kendra was "illegal"; that Rahul Gandhi, who had held AJPL shares even in 2008, did not disclose them in his 2009 election affidavit.