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ED 'temporarily seals' National Herald office over alleged money laundering case

Police barricade roads leading to Congress headquarters, cops stationed outside 10 Janpath
Herald house
Herald house
File picture

Our Web Desk   |   Published 03.08.22, 05:35 PM

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday temporarily sealed the premises of Young Indian (YI) in the Congress-owned National Herald office in Delhi as part of an ongoing money laundering investigation, official sources said.

The temporary seal has been put in order to "preserve the evidence" which could not be collected as authorised representatives were not present during the raids on Tuesday, they said.

The rest of the National Herald office is open for use, the sources added.

Besides stationing additional police personnel outside the 10 Janpath Road residence of Sonia Gandhi, the police also temporarily barricaded the roads leading to the Congress headquarters.

The notice pasted under signature of the ED investigating officer outside the YI office space said it cannot be opened "without prior permission" from the agency.

Officials said the ED team had emailed the principal officer/incharge of the office to open the premises for it to carry out raids but the response was awaited.

The ED had on Tuesday raided a dozen locations, including the National Herald office in Herald House at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg near ITO as part of its money laundering probe in the National Herald-AJL-Young Indian deal.

The National Herald newspaper is published by Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) and its holding company is Young Indian. The National Herald is registered in the name of AJL.

The ED's raid was followed by vehement Congress protests.  Calling it "vendetta politics", Jairam Ramesh tweeted, "The raids on Herald House, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg are a part of the continued attack against India's principal opposition-Indian National Congress".

The YIL took over Associated Journals Limited, which runs the National Herald. It took over 800 crores in assets of AJL and according to the Income Tax department, this should be considered an asset of Young India shareholders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, for which they should pay tax.

The Congress has claimed that the Young Indian is a non- profit, and so the shareholders cannot make any money from its assets.

The Enforcement Directorate has argued that Young Indian has not done any charitable work and cannot claim the benefit. Its only transaction was the transfer of AJL's debt. The Congress has countered that the newspaper is the charity.

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