National Herald case: ED attaches part of Bandra building worth Rs 16 crore
The Enforcement Directorate has attached part of a nine-storey building of the Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the publisher of National Herald newspaper, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act at a prime location in Bandra.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets in the city worth Rs 16.38 crore of Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the publisher of National Herald newspaper, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), it said in a statement on Saturday.
The agency has attached part of a nine-storey building at a prime location in Bandra.
The attachment order was issued against the AJL and Moti Lal Vora, chairman-cum-managing director. The ED also launched a money laundering probe on allegations that plot number C-17, Sector 6 at Panchkula in Haryana was allotted to AJL in 1982 but was taken back by the Estate Officer, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) a decade later, October 30, 1992 since AJL did not comply with the conditions of allotment.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda faced criminal proceedings for allegedly reallocating the institutional plot in Panchkula. “Hooda, the then CM, Haryana/chairman HUDA, blatantly by misusing his official position dishonestly allotted the said plot afresh in the guise of re-allotment to the AJL at original rates plus interest in violation of necessary conditions/ policy of HUDA vide order dated 28.08.2005,” the ED’s statement said.
It also said the decision caused wrongful loss to HUDA and wrongful gain to AJL.
According to ED, the investigation under PMLA revealed that Vora and Hooda were involved in the process of illegal possession of “crime proceeds.” The PMLA defines proceeds of crime as “any property derived or obtained, directly or indirectly, by any person as a result of criminal activity relating to a scheduled offence or the value of any such property”.
“It is further revealed that, the accused used this proceeds of crime–plot at Panchkula – for availing loans from Syndicate Bank, New Delhi by way of pledging it for approval of construction of building at plot near Kala Nagar in Bandra (east) held in the name of AJL valuing at Rs 120 crore. It is a 9 storey building having two basements and total built up area is 15,000 square meters. Thus, the said asset at Mumbai, germinated out of proceeds of crime, has been attached to the extent of Rs. 16.38 crore,” read the statement.
The Bandra plot issue came under the spotlight after BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed a case accusing Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi of trying to take over the National Herald’s properties.
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