Wed, 27 Sep 2023

New Delhi [India], August 2 (ANI): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday had a hectic day as it conducted raids in various parts of the country in connection with three different alleged scams.

Interestingly, in all three cases, MPs and ministers of Opposition parties are allegedly accused of financial irregularities.

ED carried out raids at 12 locations in the national capital and at other places in connection with the National Herald case in which Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, party leader Rahul Gandhi and others are accused of violating norms.

The National Herald case pertains to the alleged financial irregularities under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and was registered about nine months ago after a trial court took cognizance of an Income Tax department probe carried out on the basis of a private criminal complaint filed by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.

The petitioner had approached the court alleging that the assets of Associated Journals Limited (AJL), which published the National Herald newspaper, were fraudulently acquired and transferred to Young Indian Pvt Limited (YIL), in which Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi owned 38 per cent shares each.

Swamy had alleged that the Gandhis cheated and misappropriated funds, with YIL paying only Rs 50 lakh to obtain the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that AJL owed to Congress.

Another case which is being probed by the probe agency involves Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who has been arrested in connection with the Patra Chawl scam. ED conducted raids at two different locations in Mumbai.

Sanjay Raut is currently in the custody of the ED in a money laundering case related to irregularities in a chawl re-development project in Mumbai's Goregaon area. He has been sent to Enforcement Directorate's custody till August 4.

The case was registered at the Vakola police station under sections 504, 506 and 509 of IPC. An audio clip had gone viral in which Raut was allegedly heard threatening Swapna Patkar.

Notably, Swapna Patkar is a witness in the Patra Chawl land case in connection to which the ED detained Raut.

Another high-profile case involving former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee in which ED recovered approximately Rs 50 crore from the house of Aripta Mukherjee, close aide of the minister.

ED officials on Tuesday sealed a flat at Fort Oasis Apartment in Kolkata, West Bengal, which belongs to one Smita Jhunjhunwala in connection with the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC) scam in which former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee, who was arrested by the ED.

The arrest of Partha Chatterjee followed the recovery of crores in cash and jewellery from the Kolkata residence of Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of the former education minister. The ED unearthed many disproportionate assets which it alleged were linked to Chatterjee.

However, Chatterjee had denied his involvement in the School Service Commission (SSC) scam and asserted that the "money does not belong to him"."When the time comes, you will know...the money does not belong to me," he told media persons.

Arrested Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee - who is now suspended from the Trinamool Congress - and his aide Arpita Mukherjee have separately been claiming that they are "victim(s) of a conspiracy."Trinamool Congress, which has distanced itself from Chatterjee, axed him as a minister and suspended him from the party leaving it solely to him to defend himself in the Enforcement Directorate probe. (ANI)

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