Rahul Gandhi 'blames' Motilal Vora in National Herald case: What you need to know about late Congressman

Enforcement Directorate sources have said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, being questioned in the National Herald case, put the onus of entire transaction of the takeover of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) on former Congress treasurer Motilal Vora. Sources told News18 that Rahul claimed Vora, who passed away in December 2020, was responsible for all the transactions related to the Young Indian’s acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd’s (AJL) assets worth hundreds of crores from the party. Let’s take a closer look at who Vora was and what his son is saying about these allegations: Who was Vora? Vora after his passing was described as endearing, loyal and devoted to his work. Vora, the last of the Gandhian leaders in the Congress and a long-time confidant of the party's first family, sailed through the turbulence of state and national politics for nearly five decades with his affable personality and unflinching commitment. Called "Babuji", the former chief minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh and former Governor of Uttar Pradesh in the post-Babri Masjid demolition era was considered as a people's man and was accessible to all. Old-timers say he was one of the leaders who would make it a point to sit in the AICC office everyday during his various roles in the party -- last as the AICC general secretary (administration). He remained a staunch Gandhi family loyalist and was a trusted lieutenant of Congress president Sonia Gandhi till the end. Being helpful and accessible, he was considered as a people's man as his public connect was good. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as a senior-most Congress leader, who had vast administrative and organisational experience, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said his life is a shining example of public service and unparalleled commitment to the Congress ideology. As per India Today, Vora was a quintessential Congressman who was AICC treasurer for 18 years (the longest among his party peers). Since 1980, he had an uninterrupted run either as a key post-holding party member or as a government minister – a testament to both his political longevity and the esteem he enjoyed within the party. Vora was in the league of a select band of Congress leaders [Ahmed Patel, Sushil Kumar Shinde and A K Antony] who wouldn’t share party secrets with even their spouses or children. For him, loyalty towards the Nehru-Gandhi family was absolute and non-negotiable, as per the report. His life and career Vora was born in Nagaur in Rajasthan in 1928, but spent most of his active life in now Chhattisgarh. He was a six-term MLA of undivided Madhya Pradesh assembly. He had served as a Rajya Sabha member four times and as a Lok Sabha member once. Incidentally, his Lok Sabha tenure came after his Governorship. He also served as the president of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee in 1980s. Considered the last of the Gandhians in the grand old party, Vora was a socialist leader who was initially in the Samajwadi party. He started his political career as a member of the Municipal Committee of Durg (then part of Madhya Pradesh) in 1968 and later joined the Congress. He was first elected to the MP Assembly in 1972 on a Congress ticket and became a minister of state in Arjun Singh's Cabinet. He was elevated as Cabinet Minister in 1983. He also served as the Deputy Chairman of Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation during 1981-84. In March 1985, Vora was appointed Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh by Rajiv Gandhi. He resigned from the post of Chief Minister in February 1988 to join the Union Government. He against became chief minister of the state in January 1989. What was his link to the National Herald case? Vora was chairman of Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and later a director in the Young Indian, associated with the National Herald . He, along with Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others, was an accused in the National Herald corruption case. Young Indian was set up in 2010 with Rahul as its director. Both Sonia and Rahul had 76 per cent shares in the company while the remaining 24 per cent were held by Congress leaders Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandez. Also read: National Herald, the Gandhi connection, and the money laundering case explained As per India Today , on 25 January 2008, Vora, the then AICC treasurer and employees' union signed an agreement declaring AJL group’s National Herald newspaper's closure. The print edition ceased on 31 March, 2008. In 2017, when AJL was trying to revive the defunct National Herald newspaper, the then vice president Hamid Ansari released a commemorative edition of the newspaper Bengaluru as part of its relaunch. The invites were issued by Vora, who was the AICC treasurer and also chairman of Associated Journals Ltd, as per India Today . ‘Baseless allegations’ Speaking to India Today, Congress MLA Arun Vora, the son of late Congress leader, called the allegations baseless. He further said he believes Rahul Gandhi cannot make such allegations against his father. “These are baseless allegations. Congress leadership cannot be wrong, neither Voraji. "Rahul ji cannot make such allegations against my father," Arun added. Congress’ Pawan Bansal and Kharge in their statement also told the ED that the decision of the deal wasn’t taken by one single person and Vora was essentially responsible for all financial transactions, sources told India Today. Vora said, "I don't know about the versions of Pawan Bansal and Kharge, but the truth will always win. Sonia ji, Rahul ji and Vora ji will win." With inputs from agencies

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