BJP, Cong in war of words over tribunal order on Young Indian

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said that after the "Vadra model of development", the Young Indian organisation was a "family model of development".

A day after the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal upheld the withdrawal of income tax exemption granted to Young Indian, an entity controlled by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her family, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said that after the "Vadra model of development", the Young Indian organisation was a "family model of development".

He was reacting to the tribunal's rejection of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi's application to make Young Indian a charitable trust.

Congress leader Randeep Surjewala meanwhile said, "What is subjudice need not be commented upon. It may look like a setback for certain news channels, to certain news channels, but, I can assure you, the majesty of law will prevail and the truth out in the open is that Young Indian is a not-for-profit company and neither Mr Modi nor his cronies can change this inalienable truth."

The tribunal said in its order, "No genuine activities have been carried out by the assessee either in furtherance of its objects or otherwise, which can be held to be for charitable purpose because one of the so-called purpose of acquiring Associated Journals Ltd [AJL] was not carried out at all."

"For the Congress, family and commerce run hand in hand, are integrally linked and given a political colour. In 2010, Young Indian Ltd was formed and was exempted from income tax. Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda were part of this company. J L Nehru had started the National Herald newspaper, which stopped in 2008. Even after that, Rs 90 crore was given to the paper, and government property worth Rs 2,000 crore was handed to it," Prasad said, addressing the media.

The senior BJP leader added, "We have no hesitation in holding that the entire transaction of transferring the shares of AJL to Young Indian was nothing but, as held by the learned court, a clandestine and surreptitious transfer of lucrative interests in the premises to Young Indian."