Sonia Gandhi accuses Modi government of 'witch hunt' against family and Congress party

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 July, 2014, 11:17pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 July, 2014, 11:17pm

Sonia Gandhi, president of India's ousted Congress party, has accused the new Narendra Modi-led government of a "political witch hunt" after tax authorities began probing her party as she and her son face allegations of misusing funds.

Last month an Indian court summoned Sonia and her son Rahul to answer allegations that they used US$15 million of party funds to pay off debts accrued by a now defunct newspaper publishing business several years ago. The Gandhis were ordered to appear in court next month.

A Congress official said the party had received "notices" from India's tax authority, which demand recipients explain apparent irregularities in their tax declarations.

The official said the notices pertained to income tax and were related to the court case involving Gandhi and her son.

"This kind of political witch hunt will only help us and help us to come back faster," Gandhi was quoted as saying by NDTV news channel.

The May election saw the Congress party win just 44 of the 543 seats in the lower house of parliament, compared to 206 in 2009, raising the prospect that the Gandhi family, which has given the country a long line of leaders, will gradually lose influence.

Before becoming prime minister, Modi said he would not resort to vindictive politics, especially in reference to Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, who has been accused of corrupt land transactions, allegations he denies.