NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday attached properties of National Herald held by the Association of Journals Limited (AJL)worth Rs 752 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The ED investigation was initiated following a court order which took cognizance of a private complaint. The court held that seven accused persons prima facie committed offences of criminal breach of trust, cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, dishonest misappropriation of property and criminal conspiracy. In a statement, the agency said it came to light during its investigations that the AJL was in possession of proceeds of crime in the form of immovable properties spread across many cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai and Lucknow to the tune of Rs 661 crore and M/s Young Indian is in possession of the proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 90.21 crore in the form of investment in equity shares of AJL. Senior Congress MP and Lok Sabha Whip Manickam Tagore posted on ‘X’, “#PanautiModi orders ED to take away National Herald properties illegally. The frustration and the upcoming defeat in the hands of people of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Telangana will only be the answer to the unjustifiable action by ED.” The statement said the court had held that the accused persons hatched a criminal conspiracy to acquire properties worth hundreds of crores of AJL through a special purpose vehicle M/s Young Indian. The AJL was given land on concessional rates in various cities of India for the purpose of publishing newspapers but closed its publishing operations in 2008 and started using the properties for commercial purposes. The AJL was given land on concessional rates in various cities of India for the purpose of publishing newspapers but closed its publishing operations in 2008 and started using the properties for commercial purposes. AJL had to repay a loan of Rs. 0.21 crore to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) which in turn treated it as non-recoverable from AJL and sold it for Rs 50 lakh to M/s Young Indian without any source of income to pay even Rs.50 lakh. “By their action, the shareholders of AJL as well as donors of Congress were cheated by the office bearers of AJL and Congress party. The ED investigation revealed that after purchasing the loan of Rs 90.21 crore from the Congress, the Young Indian demanded either repayment of loan or allotment of equity shares of AJL to it,” ED said. “AJL held an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) and passed a resolution to increase share capital and issue fresh shares worth Rs 90.21 crore to Young Indian. With this fresh allotment of shares, shareholding of more than 1000 shareholders was reduced to a mere 1 per cent and AJL became subsidiary company of Young Indian, which also took control of the AJL properties. Further investigation is under progress,” it added.