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Explained: What is National Herald case in which ED has attached properties worth Rs 752 crore

The matter involving the National Herald concerns the alleged misuse of assets over Rs 2,000 crore during an equity transaction. The Congress party has categorically denied all allegations related to the case.

Anurag Roushan Edited By: Anurag Roushan @Candid_Tilaiyan New Delhi Updated on: November 22, 2023 14:10 IST
National Herald, ED, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi
Image Source : INDIA TV Jawaharlal Nehru and other freedom fighters had founded a newspaper named 'National Herald' in 1938.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached assets worth Rs 751.9 crore as part of its money laundering investigation against the Congress party-promoted Young Indian that owns the National Herald newspaper. In a statement, the central probe agency said that a provisional order has been issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against the newspaper's publisher Associated Journals Ltd. and its holding company Young Indian. 

The findings of the investigation showed that Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) possesses criminal proceeds totalling Rs. 661.69 crore in the form of real estate located throughout several Indian cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Lucknow. Meanwhile, Young Indian (YI) possesses criminal proceeds totalling Rs. 90.21 crore through investments in AJL equity shares, the ED claimed. 

ED questions Gandhis

In connection with the case, the probe agency also questioned and recorded the statements of Congress' first family Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and party president Mallikarjun Kharge. ED initiated a money-laundering investigation on the basis of a process issued by the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi after taking cognizance of a private complaint vide order dated June 26, 2014.

What is National Herald case? 

In 1938, Jawaharlal Nehru and other freedom fighters had founded a newspaper named 'National Herald'. It was originally published by Associated Journals Limited. The matter involving the National Herald concerns the alleged misuse of assets over Rs 2,000 crore during an equity transaction. The newspaper shut down in 2008 after a Rs 90 crore loan from the Congress failed to revive it. Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YIL), which included Sonia and Rahul Gandhi on its board of directors, acquired AJL in 2010. 

Subramanian Swamy filed case against Gandhis

Two years later, a complaint was filed in 2012 by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, accusing Congress leaders of betraying confidence and cheating on the acquisition of AJL by YIL. Notably, no political organisation is permitted to transact financial business with a third party under the Income Tax Act. Swamy also claimed that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had 'taken over' the assets in order to gain profits. He added that the Congress had written off the remaining Rs 89.5 crore since YIL had only paid Rs 50 lakh for the right to recoup Rs 90 crore that AJL owed to the party.

Congress party's stand on the matter

 

However, the Congress party has categorically denied allegations, saying  YIL was formed 'with the aim of charity' and not for profit.  It also asserts that the said transactions were not a financial one but a 'commercial' one.  Kharge also slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party over ED's action to attach properties and said that the saffron party is compelled to misuse its agencies as it is staring at its defeat in 5 poll-bound States. 

Speaking to the media, he also referred to a quote from former Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and said that the party has full faith in the wisdom of the people of India. "We are reminded of Pandit Nehru's quote on the masthead of the newspaper -- "Freedom is in peril, Defend it with all your might" We will continue to fight for the ideals on which our Democratic Republic is founded. The Indian National Congress has full faith in the wisdom of the people of India to see through this nefarious game," Kharge added.

ALSO READ: National Herald case: ED attaches properties worth Rs 752 crore in big jolt to Gandhis

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