National Herald Case: Enforcement Directorate Sequesters Assets Worth ₹751 Crore

National Herald Case

National Herald Case: In its investigation into alleged money laundering related to the National Herald newspaper, which is owned by the Congress, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sequestered assets valued at ₹751 crore from Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and Young Indian (YI). The agency made this announcement on Tuesday.

YI’s criminal proceeds have been attached in the form of equity shares, while AJL’s immovable properties worth ₹661 crore have been attached in Delhi, Mumbai, and Lucknow.

Ed’s statement:

“Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has issued an order to provisionally attach properties worth ₹751.9 crore in a money-laundering case investigated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. Investigation revealed that M/s Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) is in possession of proceeds of crime in the form of immovable properties spread across many cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai and Lucknow to the tune of Rs. 661.69 crore and M/s. Young Indian (YI) is in possession of proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs. 90.21 Crore in the form of investment in equity shares of AJL,” in it’s statement ED.

After receiving a private complaint via order dated June 26, 2014, the agency opened a money-laundering inquiry against National Herald based on the procedure given by the Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi court.

Court determined seven accused parties:

According to an ED statement on Tuesday, the court determined that seven accused parties, including M/s Young India, had prima facie committed crimes under sections 406 and 403 of the Indian Penal Code, 403 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code, and 420 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with cheating and dishonestly inducing the delivery of property.

The court further ruled that the accused organised a criminal conspiracy to purchase properties valued at hundreds of crores of Indian rupees through Young Indian, a special purpose entity.

“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. AJL had to repay a loan of ₹90.21 crore to All India Congress Committee (AICC), however AICC treated the said loan of Rs.90.21 Crore as non-recoverable from AJL and sold it for Rs.50 lakh to a newly incorporated company Young Indian without any source of income to pay even ₹50 lakh,” ED said.

Shareholders of AJL as well as donors of Congress Party were cheated:

“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,” ED alleged.

The investigation by the ED has shown that following the payment of the ₹90.21 crore loan from AICC, YI requested that the loan be repaid or that it be granted equity shares in AJL.

“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,” ED said on Tuesday.

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