Herald case: ED officials rebut Congress claim that no offence made out against Gandhis | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate has rebutted Congress’ claim that no offence of money laundering is made out against Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi in the absence of a predicate offence (an FIR) in the National Herald case, by emphasising that both Gandhis have been on bail since 2015 when a Delhi court took cognizance of offences against them under Sections 420 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Senior officials of the agency cited the order of the metropolitan magistrate’s court of December 19, 2015 in the Subramanian Swamy vs Sonia Gandhi and others case where the court had observed that “the accused persons have been summoned for trial of the offences punishable under sections 403/406/420/120B IPC”.
“The proceedings by the Delhi’s metropolitan magistrate court are under Section 204 of the CrPC, which is at the stage of taking cognizance of chargesheet filed by police after completion of its investigation, much beyond the stage of an FIR,” an ED official told TOI when asked about Congress’ claim.
Swamy in his complaint had objected to allowing bail to the Gandhis, to which the court had observed that “in order to allay the fears of the complainant about disruption of trial, it would be appropriate to direct that all the accused persons shall appear diligently before this court on each hearing”.
Officials also contended that the Gandhis were enlarged on bail because they were under SPG protection at the time, and the court noted that their “safety and security may be jeopardised in case they are directed to part with their travel plans every now and then”.
Sources also argued that the registration of a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was justified since the offences under Sections 420 and 120B of the IPC, which the court has taken cognizance of, are scheduled offences. “The Young Indian taking over properties of the Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) worth more than Rs 800 crore are sequel to these offences,” the official said.
The ED has estimated the value of the properties of AJL at Rs 800 crore which it says is “proceeds of crime” under the PMLA. The Young Indian and its shareholders, the Gandhis, are accused of being in possession of the properties of AJL and using them, thus committing an offence under Section 3 of the PMLA.
The Young Indian, since its inception, has not been found having engaged in any charitable act, besides earning rent on the properties of AJL that it acquired, said sources.

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