National Herald case: PMLA body upholds attachment of ₹751 cr | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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National Herald case: PMLA body upholds attachment of 751 cr

ByNeeraj Chauhan, New Delhi
Apr 11, 2024 09:17 AM IST

An adjudicating authority under the PMLA upheld the attachment of assets worth around ₹752 crore of Congress-run National Herald newspaper.

An adjudicating authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Wednesday upheld the attachment of assets worth around 752 crore of Congress-run National Herald newspaper and associated firms by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), terming it as “proceeds of crime” involved in money laundering.

Under PMLA, an adjudicating authority determines within 180 days whether the properties attached by ED are involved in money laundering or not. (HT photo)
Under PMLA, an adjudicating authority determines within 180 days whether the properties attached by ED are involved in money laundering or not. (HT photo)

Under PMLA, an adjudicating authority determines within 180 days whether the properties attached by ED are involved in money laundering or not.

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The authority also said that Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and Young Indian (YI) Private Limited “failed to discharge the burden of proof” under Section 24 of PMLA to prove that proceeds of crime were not involved in the offence.

“Having considered the material in original complaint, the written reply and rejoinder of defendants and also the oral arguments of complainant and defendants, I find that the movable and immovable properties provisionally attached (on November 20, 2023)...in the name of defendants (AJL and YI) are proceeds of crime in terms of section 2(1)(u) of the PMLA and therefore, involved in money laundering,” the authority said in its order on Wednesday evening.

It noted that ED has placed ample material on the record “to establish the nexus between the attached properties vis a vis the proceeds of crime.”

The National Herald is published by AJL and owned by Young Indian (YI) Private Limited. Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are majority shareholders of YI, holding 76% shares in all. ED is probing allegations of irregularities in transactions involving AJL and YI.

On November 20 last year, ED provisionally attached assets worth over 751.9 crore ( 661 crore immovable and shares worth 90 crore) alleging that a criminal conspiracy was hatched to give control of properties worth “hundreds of crores of rupees” of AJL to the “beneficial owners” of YI, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

During the proceedings before the adjudicating authority, AJL and YI argued that ED action was in a mala fide and arbitrary manner. The Congress has denied the charges and described the case as a “witch-hunt”.

On Wednesday, the Congress didn’t respond to a request for comment by HT.

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