ED attaches properties worth Rs 751.9 crore in National Herald case

New Delhi [India], November 21 (ANI): The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has issued an order to provisionally attach properties worth Rs. 751.9 Crore in a money-laundering case investigated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 against Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and Young Indian (YI), a release said.

Investigation revealed that 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 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.

ED initiated a money-laundering investigation on the basis of a process issued by the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi after taking cognizance of a private complaint vide order dated June 26, 2014.

“The Court held that seven accused persons including Young India, prima facie committed offences of criminal breach of trust under section 406 of IPC, cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property under section 420 of IPC, dishonest misappropriation of property under section 403 and criminal conspiracy under 120B of IPC,” the release added.

The Court held that the accused persons hatched a criminal conspiracy to acquire properties worth hundreds of Crores of AJL through a special purpose vehicle, Young Indian. 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 Rs. 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 lakhs to a newly incorporated company—Young Indian without any source of income to pay even Rs.50 lakh. 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,” the release said.

ED investigation revealed that after purchasing the loan of Rs.90.21 Crore from AICC, Young India demanded either repayment of the loan or allotment of equity shares of AJL to it. AJL held an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) and passed a resolution to increase share capital and issue fresh shares worth Rs.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 a subsidiary company of YI which also took control over properties of AJL,” the release added.

Further investigation is under progress.