The Enforcement Directorate has summoned Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to appear for questioning on June 23 in a money laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper, The Hindu reported on Saturday.

The development came after Gandhi had sought more time to appear before the agency, saying she is recuperating from Covid-19. She had tested positive for the coronavirus disease on June 2.

The Enforcement Directorate had initially summoned Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi for questioning on June 8.

On June 1, Rahul Gandhi had sought a fresh date from the central agency saying he was not in the country. He has now been asked to appear before the agency on June 13 at its Delhi headquarters.

The case

The National Herald is published by Associated Journals Limited and owned by Young Indian Private Limited. It was founded and edited by Jawaharlal Nehru before he became India’s first prime minister.

In April 2008, the paper suspended operations as it had incurred a debt of over Rs 90 crore. Bharatiya Janata Party MP Subramanian Swamy has accused Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi of setting up the Young Indian Private Limited firm to buy the debt using the funds from the Congress.

In his complaint before a trial court, Swamy accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate the funds. He has alleged that the Young Indian firm paid only Rs 50 lakh to obtain the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that the Associate Journals Limited owed to the Congress.

The party had loaned the amount to Associated Journals Limited on an interest-free basis, according to court records. The Congress has claimed that there was no money exchange and only conversion of debt into equity took place to pay off dues like salaries.