National Herald Case: ED Attaches Assets Worth Over Rs 16 Crore; Charges Veteran Congress Leader Moti Lal VoraSonia Gandhi with son and Congress president Rahul Gandhi at the party office in New Delhi. (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Tightening the noose around the Congress-promoted Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday (9 May) said that it has attached a part of its assets in Maharashtra's Mumbai amounting to Rs 16 crore in its probe into the money laundering case.

It should be noted that the AJL group runs the National Herald Newspaper and is controlled by senior Congress leaders, including members of the Gandhi family.

The ED said that it attached assets worth Rs 16.38 crore of a nine storey building with two basements in Mumbai's Bandra East belonging to AJL. It said the attachment order was issued against the AJL and its chairman Moti Lal Vora, who is a Rajya Sabha member of the Congress.

The ED had filed a PMLA complaint in this case in 2016 based on a CBI FIR, which had taken over investigations in this case at the request of the BJP government of Haryana, and the criminal FIRs filed by the Haryana Vigilance Bureau.

Last year in December, the CBI filed a chargesheet before a Panchkula court naming Vora and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in connection with the alleged irregularities in the case. The ED has questioned the two senior Congress leaders in this case and also filed a chargesheet against them in August last year.

The ED said that earlier during the probe it was revealed that Vora and Hooda were involved in the process of illegal possession of "crime proceeds".

"During investigation it was found that Vora and Hooda used plot number C-17, Sector-6 in Haryana's Panchkula for availing loans from Syndicate Bank, I. P. Estate Branch in New Delhi by way of pledging it for approval of construction of a building near EPF Office in Bandra East area of Mumbai held in the name of AJL and valued at Rs 120 crore," the ED said.

It said that the attached property is a nine storey building having two basements and a total built up area of 15000 sq mtrs. It said the property that was provisionally attached by the ED was confirmed by the adjudicating authority under PMLA. The property in Panchkula allotted by the state government to the AJL in 2005 worth Rs 64.93 crore was attached by the ED in December 2018.

With IANS Inputs

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