ED Set to Seize National Herald Assets: Assets Worth Rs. 752 Crore Confiscated in November 2023 Money Laundering Case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) can seize assets worth Rs. 752 crore promoted by the Congress Party’s National Herald newspaper. Last November, the decision to freeze these assets was taken by the Adjudicating Authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Subsequently, the ED seized these assets. On April 10, the authority reaffirmed its earlier decision.

The authority stated in its order that there is a likelihood that assets acquired through the amalgamation of the properties and equity shares via money laundering by the ED. With this order, the agency can now take possession of Herald House in Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, and many other places. However, the possession can only be taken once the trial court gives its consent to ED’s application.

Young India (YI) owns 76% of the shares, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi holding the majority. In November last year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seized assets linked to Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and Young India (YI) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). National Herald is published by AJL and owned by Young Indian Private Limited. Rahul and Sonia Gandhi hold the majority of shares in Young India, with each owning 38% of the shares.

In this case, on August 3, 2022, the ED sealed the office of Young India company located in the Herald Building in Delhi. Last year, on August 2 and 3, the ED team, along with National Herald’s 16 locations in Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata, raided and searched properties from morning until late evening. This action was taken after questioning Sonia and Rahul.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) stated that they found undisclosed assets during the investigation. The investigative agency issued a public notice, stating that they questioned Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi, and senior member Mallikarjun Kharge, noting their responses. Based on this, action was taken. The ED further disclosed that during the investigation, it was found that Young India possesses illegally acquired assets worth Rs. 661.69 crore from Associated Journals Limited (AJL) in Delhi, Mumbai, and Lucknow. Additionally, AJL has concealed revenue of Rs. 90.21 crore. These assets have been attached.

Regarding the National Herald case, it was first brought up by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in 2012. In August 2014, the ED took note of the case and included it in the investigation of money laundering. In this case, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Congress leaders Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Sam Pitroda, and Suman Dubey were accused.

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have been accused of the following:

  1. Subramanian Swamy alleged that Congress transferred a loan of Rs. 90 crore, owed by Associated Journals Limited (AJL), to Young Indian Limited (YIL) and then YIL acquired AJL’s assets worth Rs. 2,000 crore for just Rs. 50 lakh, with the remaining amount of Rs. 89.50 crore being paid later. The loan was eventually waived.
  2. Swamy’s allegation includes the claim that YIL acquired rights to recover the loan from AJL’s assets, including its prime property in Delhi valued at around Rs. 2,000 crore.
  3. It is alleged that Young Indian Limited’s property, which was formed with an initial capital of Rs. 5 lakh in 2010, increased in value to Rs. 800 crore in a few years.

On the other hand, the Income Tax Department has stated that Rahul Gandhi earned Rs. 154 crore from shares of Young Indian Limited. The department had sent a notice to Young Indian Limited for the payment of Rs. 249.15 crore in taxes for the financial year 2011-12.

The National Herald newspaper was launched in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru, who initiated its publication with a contribution of 5,000 rupees alongside 5,000 other freedom fighters. The newspaper was published by Associated Journals Limited (AJL). After independence, the newspaper became the mouthpiece of the Congress party.

AJL published the newspaper in three languages: English as “National Herald,” Hindi as “Navjivan,” and Urdu as “Qaumi Awaz.” However, over time, the newspaper faced financial difficulties and eventually ceased publication. In 2008, it was shut down after Congress took a loan of Rs. 90 crore.

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.