What is the National Herald case in which ED attached ₹751 cr worth of assets? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

What is the National Herald case in which ED attached 751 crore worth of assets?

Nov 22, 2023 11:47 AM IST

The recent development is an addendum to the long-standing probe into the newspaper's publisher and associated Congress leaders.

In a recent development to the long-standing probe into the affairs of the Congress-run National Herald newspaper, the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday attached assets worth 751 crore linked with its publisher Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and its holding company Young Indian Limited (YIL).

The National Herald's office in Delhi's ITO(Sanchit Khanna/HT File Photo)
The National Herald's office in Delhi's ITO(Sanchit Khanna/HT File Photo)

Also read: ED attaches properties worth 751 crore in National Herald probe

The National Herald's office in Delhi's ITO, the Nehru Bhawan in Lucknow's Kaiserbagh and the Herald House in Mumbai are the immovable assets attached by the probe agency. “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 ED said in a statement.

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What is the National Herald case?

The National Herald was established and edited by Jawaharlal Nehru before he became India's first Prime Minister. The paper suspended its operations in 2008 after it incurred a debt of over 90 crore, which was allegedly not repaid.

In 2012, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed a complaint against Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi accusing them of criminal misappropriation of funds and setting up of YIL in 2010 to buy the AJL's debt using the party's funds.

In his complaint, Swami alleged that the Young Indin firm only paid 50 lakh to appropriate the 90.25 crore the AJL owed to the Congress. Under the Income Tax Act, no political organisation can have financial transactions with a third party.

Swamy also alleged that the Gandhi family committed fraud by running a passport office on land given by the government to AJL only for publishing newspapers, and earning rental income worth millions of rupees.

Apart from Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, late Congress leaders Motilal Vohra and Oscar Fernandes, entrepreneur Sam Pitroda and journalist Suman Dubey are also named in the case.

ED's probe since 2016

The financial probe agency took cognisance of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case, the ED started its investigation into the AJL and the role of various Congress leaders.

The agency alleges the accused - which includes ex-Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Motilal Vora - 'used proceeds of crime', in the form of land illegally allotted to AJL in Haryana's Panchkula - and pledged it to get a loan from a Syndicate Bank branch in Delhi to construct a building in Mumbai’s Bandra area.

Congress accuses BJP of ‘political vendetta’

The Congress has maintained the YIL was formed 'with the aim of charity' and not for profit. It has also accused the BJP of ‘political vendetta’ describing the matter as a “strange case of alleged money laundering without any money”.

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