NEW DELHI: A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sealed the office of Young Indian Limited (YIL) in connection with an alleged money laundering case involving National Herald, a senior Congress leader appeared before the financial probe agency on Thursday.
The ED removed the seal from the office of YIL in presence of Mallikarjun Kharge
and went inside to search the premises once again.
Kharge, who is the principal officer of YIL, arrived at the Herald House, which is the registered office of YIL. The Herald House is also the registered office of Associated Journal Limited (AJL) which runs the National Herald.
Jairam Ramesh took to Twitter and wrote, “Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, was summoned by the ED when Parliament is in session. He, of course, left around 12.20 pm and presented himself. This is Modishahi reaching new lows.”
The ED had sealed the office of YIL located on the ground floor of the Herald House after no representative of YIL was there to conclude the searches on Tuesday. ED had summoned Kharge to be present at YIL to conclude the search operations.
The ED had carried out searches at the offices of the National Herald at 12 locations including the Herald House located in central Delhi.
The ED probe is on alleged money laundering involving National Herald and questioned Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi.
The ED registered a fresh case about 10 months ago after a trial court in Delhi took cognisance of an Income Tax Department probe. The probe was carried out based on a private criminal complaint filed by former BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.
Swamy claimed that Young Indian Limited (YIL) “took over” the assets of the defunct print media outlet in a “malicious” manner to gain profit and assets worth over ₹2,000 crores. The BJP leader also alleged that YIL had paid ₹50 lakhs to obtain the rights to recover ₹90.25 crores which AJL owed the Congress party.
In 2014, the ED initiated a probe to see if there was any money laundering in the case. On September 18, 2015, the case was reopened by the ED.
It is pertinent to note that in 2020, the ED had attached one of the most prime properties in Mumbai’s Bandra under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The said property, with market value to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees, was illegally allotted to AJL.
Seven accused in the case – veteran Congress leader Motilal Vora, AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda, YI and the Gandhis – have all denied accusations against them.
Earlier this year in April, the ED also questioned senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal.