National Herald case: ED permanently attaches properties worth Rs 64 cr

In AJL-National Herald case, Enforce Directorate has permanently attached the properties worth Rs 64 crores located at Panchkula in Haryana.

These properties were attached by the probe agency in December 2018 and the ED had sought court permission to attach the properties as a permanent attachment, following which the action has been taken.

The adjudicating authority has confirmed the attachment after granting a hearing to Associated Journals Limited (AJL) which had appealed against the attachment. The ED has also charge sheeted former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda over alleged illegal allotment of land to AJL.

The AJL is reportedly controlled by senior Congress leaders, including members of the Gandhi family. The group runs the National Herald newspaper.

The ED said, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, blatantly misused his official position and dishonestly allotted the plot in the guise of re-allotment to the AJL at an under-valued price than the actual market rate. 

The plot has been attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). According to the central probe agency, the value of the land was 64 crore 93 lakh rupees but was allotted by Mr Hooda for only 59 lakh 39 thousand rupees. It said the re-allotment of the plot in Sector -6 in Panchkula in 2005 unjustly benefited AJL.

The ED had filed a PMLA complaint in this case in 2016 based on an FIR by the CBI, which had taken over investigations in this case at the request of the Haryana government and the criminal FIRs filed by the Haryana vigilance bureau. 

The Hindu

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