Enforcement Directorate questions Vora and Hooda in National Herald case

ED questions Vora, Hooda in connection with illegal land allotments in Panchkula for National Herald.

ED questions Vora, Hooda in connection with illegal land allotments in Panchkula for National Herald.
ED questions Vora, Hooda in connection with illegal land allotments in Panchkula for National Herald.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned All India Congress Committee (AICC) Treasurer Motilal Vora and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in connection with the money laundering in the National Herald case. The ED sleuths questioned Vora at his residence on April 18 in Delhi. Hooda was questioned at ED’s Chandigarh office. Both of them were interrogated by ED sleuths, focusing on the dubious land allotment in Panchkula to the defunct National Herald newspaper publishing company Associated Journals Limited (AJL).

Apart from Hooda and AJL, the CBI FIR named the then Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) officials.

The questioning of Vora has sent shock waves to the Congress top leadership. Vora is Sonia’s treasurer from 1998, after she ascended to the President-ship of the Party. According to ED officials, they went to his house for questioning due to his illness. ED’s action came after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Hooda and AJL. Vora is the Chairman and Managing Director of AJL for the past two decades. State Vigilance found several violations in the allotment of Panchkula plot in 2005 when Hooda was the Chief Minister of Haryana.

Apart from Hooda and AJL, the CBI FIR named the then Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) officials. Three IAS officers namely S S Dhillon, Vineet Garg and the recently retired Shakuntala Jakhu were named in the FIR.

Hearing the news on ED questioned Vora and Hooda, main petitioner and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy tweeted the following:

Ds. Swamy tweet
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]M[/dropcap]eanwhile, the next hearing of Subramanian Swamy’s case in National Herald matter is scheduled for April 22 before the New Delhi Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court. The case is pending before arguments on Swamy’s petition to summon witnesses such as some officials from Income Tax, Registrar of Companies and Urban Development Ministry. He also demanded summoning AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi in the case citing that the Congress leader was the first person who admitted from the party that they had paid Rs.90 crores ($13.9 million) to AJL, which is a clear violation of laws.

Meanwhile, like the Haryana Government, Maharashtra Government too has ordered a probe on the violations and illegal sale of prime plot allotted in Bandra.

It is expected that CBI and ED’s actions would create an interesting turn of events in Swamy’s case which mainly targets Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Other persons accused in the case are Sonia’s trusted men Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda.

Swamy has already filed complaints to CBI, ED and Urban Development Ministry for registering case for grabbing the plot and building in Delhi and money trail of Rs.90 crores ($13.9 million) from Congress party to AJL, which is acquired by Sonia and Rahul by floating a new private company called Young Indian.

Meanwhile, like the Haryana Government, Maharashtra Government too has ordered a probe on the violations and illegal sale of prime plot allotted in Bandra. Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis has appointed Additional Chief Secretary Gautam Chatterjee to probe into the land grabbing and illegal sale of Bandra property and the officer had submitted the report detailing the violations to the State Government in Feb 2016. Till date the state government has not taken any action.

Similarly Income Tax Department has also not finished its probe on money trail from Congress to the AJL.

Note:
1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 64.67 Rupees.
2. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.

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