In a major setback for the Gandhi family, the Enforcement Directorate today attached one of the most prime properties in Mumbai’s Bandra under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The said property, with market value to the tunes of hundreds of crores of rupees, was illegally allotted to Associated Journals Limited (AJL),
ED attaches under PMLA, assets to the extent of Rs. 16.38 Crore in Bandra (East), Mumbai of Associated Journals Limited in illegal land allotement case.— ED (@dir_ed) May 9, 2020
The Bandra plot came under the spotlight after Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were dragged to court in Delhi after Subramaniam Swamy filed a case accusing them of misappropriating the National Herald’s properties. The aforesaid property in Bandra was provided to National Herald in 1983 at concessional rates to publish the newspaper.
Separately, it is alleged by journalist J Gopikrishnan that the National Herald’s property in Panchkula was pegged at Rs 120 crores to take loan from Delhi’s Syndicate Bank branch in ITO to build 11 floors in the Bandra East-Mumbai property.
Very interesting – ED says National Herald’s Panchkula property was valued at Rs.120 crore to take loan from Delhi’s Syndicate Bank Branch in ITO to build 11 floors in Bandra East-Mumbai property…Wow…great money swindling in the name of media business by Congress https://t.co/jBQjDEBiLP— J Gopikrishnan (@jgopikrishnan70) May 9, 2020
AJL’s Panchkula property seized in 2019
Continuing its action in the National Herald case, the Enforcement Directorate had in 2019 attached a Gurugram property worth Rs 64.93 crores under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act(PMLA).
According to ED investigation, the plot number C-17, sector 6, Panchkula was allotted to the AJL in the year 1982 as per the request of the company to start the Nav-Jivan newspaper. However, the AJL did not abide by the terms and conditions of the allotment, the estate officer, HUDA, Panchkula vide order dated 30.10.1992 ordered to take back the plot on the ground that the allottee i.e. AJL violated the necessary terms and conditions of the allotment letter by not starting the construction and completing the same within the specified time period.
Similarly, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had earlier in December 2018 attached property worth Rs 30 crores in Mohali allotted by former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in the case of Associated Journals & National Herald Case. The Supreme Court in 2918 upheld the Income Tax Department’s decision to re-open their tax assessment for the financial year 2011-2012 in connection with the National Herald Case.
National Herald Scam
National Herald scam is one of the most notable legal cases in Indian history, as the Gandhis are directly accused. The Mother-Son duo of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia, along with their aides – Oscar Fernandez, Motilal Vohra and Sam Pithroda are alleged to have involved in massive ‘cheating and breach of trust’ in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) by Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YIL), as assets worth crores of rupees had been allegedly transferred for purposes other than originally intended for a paltry sum. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi got unconditional bail in December 2015.
As per the complaint filed in the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate, Associated Journal Limited (AJL) took an interest-free loan of Rs 90.25 crores from Indian National Congress. It is alleged that the loan was not repaid. A closely held company, the Young Indian Company, which was incorporated in November 2010 with a capital of Rs 50 lakh had acquired almost all the shareholding of AJL and all its properties (alleged to be worth Rs 5,000 crores). BJP’s Subramanian Swamy, who had filed the case, alleged criminal misappropriation by both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.