National Herald Office Raided By ED Days After Sonia Gandhi's Questioning

National Herald-AJL Case: Officials the raids were carried out under the criminal sections of the PMLA to "gather additional evidences with regard to the trail of funds".

By Aalok Sensharma
Updated: Tue, 02 Aug 2022 02:09 PM IST
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National Herald Office Raided By ED Days After Sonia Gandhi's Questioning
ED raids National Herald's office in Delhi. (Photo: ANI)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday carried out raids at a dozen of places, including the head office of the Congress-owned National Herald newspaper, in connection with an alleged money laundering case. This comes days after the probe agency questioned Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and her MP son Rahul Gandhi in the case.

Quoting officials, news agency PTI reported that the raids were carried out under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to "gather additional evidences with regard to the trail of funds". It also raided the 'Herald House' office at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg in central Delhi's ITO.

On July 27, 75-year-old Gandhi had last appeared for questioning before the ED. Gandhi, who was accompanied by her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, left the probe agency's office after three hours of questioning.

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ED द्वारा हेराल्ड हाउस पर छापेमारी केन्द्र सरकार की बौखलाहट का प्रतीक है। श्रीमती सोनिया गांधी एवं श्री राहुल गांधी को पूछताछ के नाम पर प्रताड़ित करने के बाद ED अब फेस सेविंग के लिए इस तरह की कार्रवाई कर रही है। इस पूरे मामले में कोई मनी ट्रांजेक्शन ही नहीं हुआ तो मनी लॉन्ड्रिंग कैसे हो सकती है। ED ने जुलाई, 2015 में इस केस को बन्द कर दिया था परन्तु केन्द्र सरकार ने उस समय के जांच अधिकारी का तबादला कर नए अधिकारियों पर दबाव डाला और बदले की भावना से कार्रवाई शुरू की। 1/2
 
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The Congress has claimed that the Gandhis are being questioned for raising their voices against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The grand old party has also held multiple protests against the Centre over the National Herald case.

However, the BJP has slammed the Congress, saying it thinks that one family is above the law. The saffron party has said that everybody is answerable in front of law.

"But (Congress' protests) this wouldn't work in this country as laws and rules are equal for all," BJP national president JP Nadda said. "Gandhis should answer the investigation agencies, but they think they are above the law."

The National Herald case to investigate alleged financial irregularities under the PMLA was registered about nine months ago after a trial court took cognisance of an Income Tax department probe carried out on the basis of a private criminal complaint filed by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.

The petitioner had approached the court alleging that the assets of Associated Journals Limited (AJL), which published the National Herald newspaper, were fraudulently acquired and transferred to Young Indian Pvt Limited (YIL), in which Sonia Gandhi and her son owned 38 per cent shares each.

The YIL promoters include Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Swamy had alleged that the Gandhis cheated and misappropriated funds, with YIL paying only Rs 50 lakh to obtain the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that AJL owed to Congress.

The National Herald is published by AJL and owned by YIL. While Kharge is the CEO of YIL, Bansal is the Managing Director of AJL. The ED is investigating the shareholding pattern and financial transactions as well as role of party functionaries in the functioning of AJL and YIL.

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