The publisher of the Congress-linked National Herald newspaper has been ordered by the Delhi High court to vacate its headquarters in the capital. Associated Journals limited, which owns National Herald, had challenged a government order on October 30 cancelling its 56-year-old lease and asking it to vacate the building, Herald House.
Associate Journals has to vacate the building in central Delhi’s ITO area within two weeks.
The centre and Land and Development Office (L&DO) said that no press has been functioning in the premises for at least past 10 years and it was being used only for commercial purposes in violation of the lease deed.
The eviction order added a new twist to the National Herald case, which has been described by the BJP as a prime example of corruption by the Congress and the Gandhi family.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has alleged that Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi – the Congress president – set up a company to buy debts worth Rs. 90 crore owed by Associated Journals, which publishes three newspapers including National Herald, founded by Jawaharlal Nehru – Rahul Gandhi’s great-grandfather – before he became India’s first prime minister.
In 2008, Associated Journals had shut down over its debts. The BJP alleges that the Gandhis used Congress party funds to pay off its debts even though the publisher has real estate assets worth thousands of crores.
On November 12, National Herald tweeted that it was being targeted by the BJP government for its growing digital presence.
In 2012, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had filed a case against then Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, alleging irregularities related to a loan of Rs. 90 crore given by the Congress to the AJL.