ED has seized assets worth Rs 751 crore of Associated Journals Limited and Young India. Let us tell you that the agency has previously interrogated Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in this matter. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has taken this action in a case related to money laundering. According to the agency, during the investigation of the case, it was found that Associated Journals Limited (AJL) has proceeds of crime in the form of immovable properties worth Rs 661.69 crore in several cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Lucknow and Young Indian (YI). The proceeds of crime amount to Rs 90.21 crore in the form of investment in equity shares of AJL. The agency has taken action to confiscate these properties.
Congress MP issued this response
Responding to ED's action, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi has said that action has been taken against AJL to divert attention from ED. Singhvi said on social media that ED's action to seize AJL's properties reflects the frustration of defeat in the ongoing assembly elections. This action has been taken to divert attention from a certain defeat.
Singhvi said- action can be taken under PMLA only in serious cases
Singhvi said that PMLA action can be taken only in some serious cases. There has been no transfer of any immovable property in this case. There has been no exchange of money. No proceeds of crime have been derived. In fact, there is no complainant in this case who is claiming to have been cheated.
Singhvi said that this is a pre-made structure of deceit and lies, which is being spread by the BJP to divert attention and create distraction in the midst of elections. None of BJP's allies like CBI, ED or Income Tax Department can stop BJP's defeat in the elections.
What is Young India and National Herald case, understand here
The country's first Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru formed Associated Journal Limited i.e. AJL on 20 November 1937. Its objective was to publish newspapers in different languages. Then under AJL newspapers National Herald in English, Navjeevan in Hindi and Qaumi Awaaz in Urdu were published.
Even though Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had a role in the formation of AJL, he never had ownership rights over it. Because, 5000 freedom fighters were supporting this company and they were also its shareholders. In the 90s, these newspapers started incurring losses. By 2008, AJL had a debt of more than Rs 90 crore. Then AJL decided that the newspapers would no longer be published. After stopping the publication of newspapers, AJL entered the property business.
So where did the controversy start?
In 2010, AJL had 1057 shareholders. After incurring losses, its holding was transferred to Young India Limited i.e. YIL. Young India Limited was established in the same year i.e. 2010. In this, the then Congress Party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi joined as a director. 76 percent stake in the company was kept with Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi. The remaining 24 percent was with Congress leaders Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes (both deceased).
As soon as the share transfer took place, the shareholders of AJL came forward. Several shareholders, including former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan and former Chief Justice of Allahabad and Madras High Courts Markandey Katju, alleged that no notice was given to them when YIL 'acquired' AJL. Not only this, consent was not even taken from the shareholders before transferring the shares. Let us tell you that Shanti Bhushan and Markandey Katju had shares in AJL in their father's name.
then a case was registered
In 2012, BJP leader and country's renowned lawyer Subramanian Swamy filed a case against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, journalist Suman Dubey and technocrat Sam Pitroda in the National Herald case. Then there was the Congress led UPA government at the centre.
Subramanian Swamy claimed that YIL "wrongfully" acquired the assets of defunct print media outlets to gain assets and profits worth over Rs 2,000 crore.
Swamy also alleged that YIL had paid just Rs 50 lakh to acquire the rights to recover Rs 90.25 crore that AJL owed the Congress party. This amount was first given as a loan to start the newspaper. He also alleged that the loan given to AJL was "illegal" as it was taken from party funds.
ED investigation, court grants bail to Sonia-Rahul
In 2014, when the BJP government came to power at the Centre, the Enforcement Directorate i.e. ED started investigating this matter. The threat of action was hanging against Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the case. In such a situation, both reached the court. On December 19, 2015, the lower court had granted bail to both of them in this case. In 2016, the Supreme Court had granted exemption from personal appearance to all five accused in the case (Sonia, Rahul Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey), refusing to quash the proceedings against them.