The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday (21 November) provisionally attached assets valued at Rs 751.9 crore belonging to Associated Journals as part of its money laundering investigation into the National Herald case.
According to a statement by the central probe agency, the ED issued a provisional attachment order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against the newspaper’s publisher, Associated Journals Ltd., and its holding company, Young Indian.
The investigation revealed that Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) possessed proceeds of crime in the form of immovable properties across cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Lucknow amounting to Rs. 661.69 crore.
Young Indian (YI), the company associated with Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, was found to possess proceeds of crime totaling Rs. 90.21 crore in the form of investment in equity shares of AJL.
The case originated from a private complaint filed by BJP’s Subramanian Swamy in a Delhi court in 2013, alleging cheating and misappropriation of funds by the Gandhis in acquiring the newspaper. In December 2015, Sonia and Rahul were granted bail in the case by the trial court.
Swamy’s complaint accused Sonia, Rahul, and others of misappropriating funds by allegedly paying Rs 50 lakh for Young Indian to obtain the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that AJL owed to the Congress.
The ED has already questioned and recorded statements from Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and president Mallikarjun Kharge in connection with this case.
The Congress has accused the Centre of misusing central probe agencies for political vendetta, asserting that there is no evidence of money laundering or any monetary exchange.
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