National Herald case: ED attaches properties worth Rs 751.9 crore in money-laundering probe
PTC News Desk: Enforcement Directorate (ED) has provisionally attached properties worth Rs. 751.9 crore in a money-laundering investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 against Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and Young Indian (YI).
According to the investigation, Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) has Rs. 661.69 crore in proceeds of crime in the form of immovable properties spread across several cities across India like Delhi, Mumbai, and Lucknow, and Young Indian (YI) has Rs. 90.21 crore in proceeds of crime in the form of investment in AJL equity shares.
After taking cognizance of a private complaint via order dated June 26, 2014, the ED launched a money-laundering investigation based on a process issued by the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi.
"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," it added.
The Court determined that the accused conspired to acquire properties worth hundreds of crores of AJL through a special purpose vehicle called Young Indian. AJL was given land at reduced rates in various Indian cities for the purpose of publishing newspapers. AJL ceased publishing operations in 2008 and began 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," it added.
According to the ED investigation, after purchasing the loan of Rs.90.21 Crore from AICC, Young India demanded either repayment of the loan or allotment of equity shares in AJL. AJL held an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) and passed a resolution to increase share capital and issue new shares to YI in the amount of Rs.90.21 crore.
"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."