New Delhi, 21st November 2023 – In a significant move in the National Herald case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seized assets worth more than Rs 751 crore belonging to the Congress-linked Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and Young India on Tuesday. The agency stated that this action was taken as part of a money laundering investigation, resulting in the temporary seizure of properties across various cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Lucknow.
The Enforcement Directorate explained in a statement that during the investigation, it was discovered that immovable properties of AJL and Young Indian, spread across several cities in the country, were illegally acquired.
“In the National Herald case, ED has issued an order to temporarily attach assets worth crores of rupees. An investigation into the Rs 751.9 crore money-laundering case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act revealed that Associated Journals Limited (AJL) illegally owned properties worth Rs 661.69 crore, spread across several cities in India such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Lucknow,” said the Enforcement Directorate.
The Associated Journals Ltd was established in 1937 with original investors including 5,000 freedom fighters, including Jawaharlal Nehru. The company published newspapers such as National Herald, Navjivan, and Qaumi Awaz. Over time, the company incurred losses, and the Congress Party attempted to recover them by providing a loan of Rs 90 crore. However, the efforts were unsuccessful.
In 2010, another company named Young India was formed, with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi holding 76 percent shares, and Motilal Bora and Oscar Fernandes holding 12 percent each. The Congress Party transferred its Rs 90 crore loan to the new company, Young India. Unable to repay the loan, The Associated Journals Ltd transferred its entire shares to Young India, receiving only Rs 50 lakh in return.
In 2012, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy filed a private complaint in Delhi’s Patiala House Court, terming the purchase of a company worth Rs 2000 crore for just Rs 50 lakh as illegal. He demanded criminal prosecution against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and other senior Congress leaders involved in the case.