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Sanjay Raut on National Herald case

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In a stinging attack on the BJP-led Central government, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said it wouldn’t be surprising if the Enforcement Directorate issued summons against former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the National Herald newspaper case and paste the notice on his memorial.

In his weekly column published in Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Raut alleged that National Herald was like a weapon created by Nehru during the freedom struggle and not a property.

“When will traders in the present-day politics understand this?” asked Raut, who is the executive editor of Saamana, in an apparent jibe at the BJP.

The ED recently issued summons to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her MP son Rahul Gandhi in connection with a money-laundering probe. It was for alleged irregularities in party-promoted Young Indian, which owns the National Herald newspaper.

The Shiv Sena, headed by Uddhav Thackeray, shares power with NCP and Congress in Maharashtra. Raut is the chief spokesperson of Sena.

Raut stated that the National Herald newspaper started by Nehru had lost its political significance long ago but the politics over it continues.

“When Jawaharlal Nehru started this newspaper in 1937, Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel, and Nehru himself were its pillars. The British feared this newspaper for its factual reporting and banned it between 1942 to 45,” Raut said.

The newspaper wasn’t started for monetary reasons but the ED has summoned Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on charges of money laundering, in this case, he said. Raut stated that Nehru’s soul was in the National Herald and he had told reporters never to write out of fear.

“When someone said that the (National Herald) newspaper had become a headache for Congress despite being its mouthpiece, Nehru got enraged and asked ‘what do you want me to do? Call the editor and ask him to praise everyone. What is the use of the editor who only praises,” Raut said quoting Nehru.

When National Herald was suffering losses, Nehru even offered to sell his house, Anand Bhavan, the Shiv Sena leader said quoting anecdotes from the book of PD Tandon, who was associated with the National Herald during Nehru’s time.

He said Nehru ensured that (Purshottam Das) Tandon’s telephone bills are paid on time apprehending his arrest while visiting Mumbai.

“Tandon wrote that Nehru had ensured that his (Tandon’s) future bills would be reimbursed by Vijayalaxmi Pandit and Indira Gandhi (Nehru’s daughter) and not by National Herald,” Raut stated.

Drawing similarities between Saamana and National Herald, Raut said both the newspapers are not properties but are carriers of thoughts and principles. Raut said he had discussed the National Herald issue with Rahul Gandhi and some Congressmen.

“The case pertains to only repaying a loan which cannot be called money laundering. It wouldn’t be surprising if ED summons Nehru too in the case and pastes a notice on his memorial,” he stated.

Raut said that questions were also raised over PM CARES Fund and that certain financial transactions were executed by several institutions under Sangh Parivar.

“There was no need to stretch the case this far. Congress might have made certain financial dealings to ensure that the legacy started by Nehru survived. Such transactions are made by several institutions under Sangh Parivar. Questions have also been raised over the PM Cares Fund and crores of rupees deposited in the BJP treasury,” he alleged and said Nehru’s National Herald has been branded as criminal.

“Some people’s souls will get peace only after notices of the CBI and the ED reach Pandit Nehru,” he said.

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