The Enforcement Directorate (ED) here on Monday seized former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's portrait, bought by arrested Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor from Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for Rs 2 crore in June 2010. The portrait of Rajiv Gandhi has been seized under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) "as it's the proceed of crime," an ED official told IANS.
The portrait is by noted painter M.F. Hussain.
According to ED officials linked to probe, Maharashtra Congress leader Milind Deora had written to Kapoor on May 1, 2010, asking him to approach Priyanka Gandhi directly to buy the painting.
Earlier in the day, the ED official said the painting would be probed as its valuation was not done before the sale. Also, the portrait was gifted to then Prime Minister during the Congress centenary in 1985, and thus it was the party's property, the officials added.
Priyanka Gandhi had also written an acknowledgement letter to Kapoor on June 4, 2010 after he sent her the cheque of Rs 2 crore.
In her letter, Priyanka Gandhi said, "Thank you for purchasing the portrait of my father Rajiv Gandhi, painted by M.F. Hussain, which was presented to him in 1985 at the Congress centenary celebrations and is presently in my possession."
Acknowledging the payment by cheque, representing the full and final payment towards the painting, Priyanka Gandhi said she hoped Kapoor was aware of the historical value of the work and would ensure its placement in an environment that benefits its stature.
The ED would also investigate from whom Kapoor bought other expensive paintings, the official said. Kapoor owned over 40 expensive paintings, the ED probe into the Yes Bank case on Sunday revealed.
Earlier in the day, Congress leaders criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for connecting Priyanka Gandhi with the Yes Bank scam.
"Priyanka Gandhi received the Hussain as an inheritance. She had mentioned in her income tax returns about receiving Rs 2 crore through cheque," said Congress media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, here.
The ED registered a money laundering case against Kapoor and contended that prima facie he was involved in generating Rs 4,300 crore black money and "laundering" the amount.
According to ED officials, the matter came to light during another ED investigation when it was found that Yes Bank had subscribed to Rs 3,700 crore DHFL debentures in April-June 2018.
Simultaneously, it was also revealed that DHFL sanctioned Rs 600 crore loan to DOIT Urban Ventures, run by Kapoor's daughters - Roshini Kapoor, Radha Kapoor-Khanna and Rakhee Kapoor-Tandon - who are the company's 100 per cent shareholders.