National Herald Probe: ED Attaches Properties Worth ₹751 Crore In Money-Laundering Case

(MENAFN- Live Mint) "The Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached properties worth ₹751.9 crore in connection with the money-laundering case against the Congress party-promoted Young Indian that owns the National Herald newspaper on Tuesday.A provisional order was issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against the newspaper's publisher Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) and its holding company Young Indian, the Enforcement Directorate said in a statement immovable assets that have been attached include the National Herald's office premises at ITO in Delhi, the Nehru Bhawan at Mall Avenue near Kaiserbagh in Lucknow and the Herald House in Mumbai, sources told news agency PTI financial probe agency said that during the investigation, it was found that“Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) is in possession of proceeds of crime in the form of immovable properties spread across many cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Lucknow to the tune of ₹661.69 crore.”\"...and Young Indian (YI) is in possession of proceeds of crime to the tune of ₹90.21 crore in the form of investment in equity shares of the AJL,\" the Enforcement Directorate said in a statement on Tuesday Enforcement Directorate had earlier questioned and recorded the statements of Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and that of president Mallikarjun Kharge in this case did ED claim in recent statement?The agency initiated money-laundering investigation against National Herald on the basis of process issued by the court of Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi after taking cognisance of a private complaint vide order dated June 26, 2014.\"The court held that seven accused persons including M/s Young India, prima facie committed offences of criminal breach of trust u/s (under Section) 406 of IPC (Indian Penal Code), cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property u/s 420 of IPC, dishonest misappropriation of property u/s 403 and criminal conspiracy u/s 120B of IPC,\" the ED said in a statement court, it added, held that accused persons hatched a criminal conspiracy to acquire properties worth hundreds of crores of AJL through a special purpose vehicle, Young Indian.\"AJL was given land on concessional rates in various cities of India for the purpose of publishing newspapers. AJL closed its publishing operations in 2008 and started using the properties for commercial purposes,\" the ED said added, \"AJL had to repay a loan of ₹90.21 crore to All India Congress Committee (AICC), however AICC treated the said loan of ₹90.21 crore as non-recoverable from AJL and sold it for ₹50 lakh to a newly incorporated company M/s Young Indian without any source of income to pay even ₹50 lakh.\"\"By their action, the shareholders of AJL as well as donors of Congress Party were cheated by the office bearers of AJL and Congress Party,\" the ED said ED further added that its investigation revealed that after purchasing the loan of ₹90.21 crore from AICC, YI demanded either repayment of loan or allotment of equity shares of AJL to it.\"AJL held an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) and passed a resolution to increase share capital and issue fresh shares worth ₹90.21 crore to YI. With this fresh allotment of shares, shareholding of more than 1000 shareholders was reduced to a mere 1% and AJL became subsidiary company of YI. YI also took control over properties of AJL,\" it said reactsCongress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi denied any \"transfer of any immovable property\". In a statement, he called the recent development in the case a \"desperation to divert attention from certain defeat in the ongoing elections in each state....\"Hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Singhvi said, \" this is a prefabricated structure of deceit, lies and falsehood, or by and for the BJP, to divert, distract and digress in the middle of the elections Congress spokesperson called the ED, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Income Tax Department (I-T) the BJP's \"coalition partners\". He said, \"No BJP's coalition partner - CBI, ED or I-T - can prevent certain impending defeat of the BJP.\"\"An assignment of loan without transfer of any immovable property or movement of money is being dressed up to justify attachment and freezing of assets of a company which runs an iconic voice of the Indian Independence movement - the National Herald - only because it is linked to the Congress party and its legacy,\" the Congress said.\"These petty vendetta tactics shall not frighten the Indian National Congress in any way,\" the party added.(With inputs from agencies)


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