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National Herald case: PMLA authority upholds ED's attachment of assets worth Rs 752 cr in big blow to Gandhis

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.

Reported By : Atul Bhatia Edited By : Arushi Jaiswal
New Delhi
Updated on: April 11, 2024 6:07 IST
National Herald case
Image Source : INDIA TV National Herald case

National Herald case: The PMLA Adjudicating Authority on Wednesday upheld the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) attachment of assets worth Rs 751.9 crore of Congress-promoted National Herald newspaper and companies linked to it in a money laundering case.

The authority said in its order that it holds the belief that the movable assets and equity shares, which were seized by the ED, constitute proceeds of crime and are connected to the offence of money laundering.

The agency can now take possession of these assets like the Herald House at ITO in Delhi, land and building in Mumbai, Lucknow and some other locations. The final confiscation of these assets can be done once the trial court rules in favour of the prosecution (ED).

ED attaches properties worth Rs 752 crore

The central agency had on November 21, 2023, provisionally attached properties by issuing a provisional attachment order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Associated Journals Ltd. ( AJL) and Young Indian (YI).

The National Herald is published by AJL and owned by Young Indian Private Limited. Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are majority shareholders of Young Indian with 38 per cent shares held by each one of them.

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.

Also Read: National Herald case: Kharge slams PM Modi on ED attachment, says Congress will not be scared of BJP

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

 

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