National Herald case: Enforcement Directorate mulling probe possibility

The Enforcement Directorate is exploring the possibility of a formal probe into money laundering charges in connection with the acquisition of National Herald by Young Indian.

The move comes in the wake of the Delhi High Court judgment on Monday, dismissing petitions by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and the other office-bearers of Young Indian, challenging the summons issued against them by a trial court on June 26 last year.

As the trial court had summoned the accused persons taking cognisance of the criminal complaint, by virtue of existing rules, the Directorate can launch independent investigations into the allegations, provided there is no stay from a higher court.

Dr. Swamy had last year also approached the ED seeking registration of a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The Directorate did not initiate the probe citing technical reasons. However, a copy of the complaint was forwarded to the Central Bureau of Investigation in August, 2014.

After the ED letter to the Revenue Secretary stating that no case was made out, Dr. Swamy again wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding removal of then ED chief Rajan S. Katoch, accusing the senior IAS officer and other ED officials of scuttling investigations .

A few days after Dr. Swamy’s letters, Dr. Katoch was relieved of additional charge as ED chief.

National Herald Case

  • What - Subramanian Swamy, the then Janata Party president, >knocked the court's door raising questions over acquisition of a company that published the now-defunct National Herald newspaper to which Congress gave a loan of over Rs 90 crore.
  • Who - Dr. Swamy alleged that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had floated a Section 25 company called ‘Young Indian’, which acquired Associated Journals, founded by late Jawaharlal Nehru, that published the National Herald and Quami Awaz.
  • How - Dr. Swamy >claimed it was illegal for Congress, a political party, to give loans for commercial purposes. Young Indian wrote off the loans due to Congress for a mere Rs 50 lakh and by a board resolution, the Associate Journals is sold by transfer of shares to Young Indian, which is not a newspaper or journal producing company.
  • Why - The deal, Dr. Swamy alleged, was to grab prized property like Herald House in Delhi and other properties of the Associated Journals in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Then - Rahul Gandhi >threatened legal action against Dr. Swamy. Congress challenged Dr. Swamy to prove his allegations in a court of law. As Dr. Following Dr. Swamy's plea, a Delhi court >ordered the Gandhis to appear before it on August 7, which was >challeged in High Court.
  • Next - Following the High Court’s order, the Congress leaders will have to appear before a Metropolitan Magistrate in whose court the hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 4:54:32 PM |

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