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Seized National Herald properties acquired through donations from party workers: Nana Patole

Updated on: 22 November,2023 04:44 PM IST  |  Nagpur
mid-day online correspondent |

The Gandhi family has no stake in the properties attached by the ED. It has already been proved that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are not involved in the matter, said Nana Patole

Seized National Herald properties acquired through donations from party workers: Nana Patole

Nana Patole. File Pic

A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached properties worth Rs 751 crores in connection with the National Herald Case, Congress leader Nana Patole on Wednesday said party heavyweights Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have no stake in the seized properties and they were acquired with monetary contributions from the cadre, reported news agency ANI.

Speaking to ANI on Wednesday, the senior Congress leader and the party's Maharashtra chief said, "The properties seized in the National Herald case were acquired through monetary donations from Congress workers across the country. The Gandhi family has no stake in the properties attached by the ED. It has already been proved that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are not involved in the matter. However, the top BJP leaders in Delhi are trying to create a perception that the properties belong to the Gandhi family. However, nothing is going to come from this deliberate ploy to drag our top leaders into this matter. The BJP know they are losing the five states where elections have been or will be held."

The ED, on Tuesday, issued an order to provisionally attach properties worth Rs 751.9 crore in a money-laundering case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 against Associated Journals Limited (AJL), which runs The National Herald newspaper, and Young Indian (YI) on November 21, reported ANI.

Both entities are allegedly linked to the Congress.

According to the ED, the probe revealed that Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) is in possession of proceeds of crime in the form of immovable properties spread across many cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Lucknow to the tune of Rs. 661.69 crore while the Young Indian (YI) is in possession of proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs. 90.21 crore in the form of investment in equity shares of AJL, reported ANI.

Also weighing in on the property attachment by ED in the Herald case, former Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who is currently an independent member of the Rajya Sabha, said the agency should specify the law that stipulates that shareholders are also to be treated as owners of assets, reported ANI.

"ED should know what the law says. Properties are owned by companies. There are charges that Young India bagged 99 per cent shares of AJL. However, as is commonly known, shareholders do not own properties, companies do. Therefore, to say that Young Indian came to be owners of assets worth Rs 752 crore of the AJL is legally wrong. The Young Indian is a Section 25 company, which means it is not a profit-making company. If Young Indian became a shareholder of AJL, and considering that none of these companies ever made accusations against each other, it needs to be determined whose trust was breached. The ED should tell us which law stipulates that shareholders can also become owners of assets," Sibal added, reported ANI.

Earlier, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge came down heavily on the BJP over the fresh action by the ED in the National Herald case, reported ANI.

"Reports of attachment of AJL's properties by the Enforcement Directorate are a clear indication of the BJP's panic in the ongoing elections. Staring at defeat in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram, the BJP Govt feels compelled to misuse its agencies. This attempt too will fail and the BJP will be defeated in the polls. National Herald was the voice of the Freedom Movement. The Indian National Congress is proud of its role in the Freedom Movement," Kharge posted from his official handle on X.

Kharge said the Congress has full faith in the 'wisdom of the people of India'.

"We are reminded of Pandit Nehru's quote on the masthead of the newspaper -- 'Freedom is in peril, Defend it with all your might'. We will continue to fight for the ideals on which our Democratic Republic is founded. The Indian National Congress has full faith in the wisdom of the people of India to see through this nefarious game," Kharge added in his post.

Congress national general secretary KC Venugopal accused the BJP of 'murdering democracy'.

"They are staring at a historic loss in the elections to five state assemblies and in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. If they think they can intimidate us or tarnish our reputation in the people's eyes, they are grossly mistaken. The BJP and its allied agencies are the murderers of Indian democracy. 1.4 billion Indians will give a befitting reply to this fascist politics of revenge and intimidation," KC Venugopal posted on X.

The ED initiated a money-laundering investigation after the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi took cognisance of a complaint and issued an order on June 26, 2014.

(With inputs from ANI)

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