The details of more frauds committed by the Gandhi family in grabbing the National Herald newspaper’s headquarters Herald House is exposed in the probe conducted by the Urban Development Ministry. The Show Cause Notice issued to the National Herald newspaper publisher Associated Journals Limited (AJL) reveals that the staffers also lied to the Ministry’s probe team about the lease allotment details being changed again, by UPA Government controlled by Sonia Gandhi in January 2013.
The allotment was for printing and publication activities of newspapers and Government allotted the prime land for an extremely low price. In 1967, Government allowed the newspapers to rent out the higher level floors while maintaining ground and first floor for newspaper publishing activities.
The Urban Development Ministry started probe on the complaint filed by BJP leader and petitioner Subramanian Swamy on March 2018 urging the Government to take back the Herald House from AJL for violating the land lease conditions. The details of the Show Cause Notice reveal that more than half acre land in the much coveted Press Enclave Area in ITO, New Delhi was allotted for publication of National Herald newspaper for just around Rs.50000 in 1962.
The allotment was for printing and publication activities of newspapers and Government allotted the prime land for an extremely low price. In 1967, Government allowed the newspapers to rent out the higher level floors while maintaining ground and first floor for newspaper publishing activities. This decision was taken after the hectic lobbying by newspaper barons for getting some revenue from renting out the higher floors of the building for commercial purposes. Except for hotel, cinema, and restaurant business, the higher floors were allowed for other business as per the dilution of the lease agreements approved by the Urban Ministry in 1967.
This rule was further diluted on January 7, 2013, by the UPA Government on the request of AJL. It must be remembered that this dilution happened two months after Subramanian Swamy exposed the National Herald scam in November 1, 2012. In mid-2011, after Sonia – Rahul controlled firm Young Indian covertly took over the AJL, the first two floors were rented out to Passport Seva Kendra related operations for a huge monthly rent of Rs.80 lakhs.
“On request of AJL, vide letter dated 7-1-2013 the clause 7 of the perpetual lease was further modified to the extent that instead of basement and 1st floor, basement and any one floor of the building are required to be used for press and offices of the lesse,” said the two page Show Cause Notice to AJL detailing the violations.
“Further, in order to confirm the present status of the activities in the premises, a three-member committee comprising officers from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs was formed to inspect the premises on the 9th of April, 2018. The Committee observed that no printing press was functioning at any floor of the premises (Herald House) and no paper stock was found anywhere. However, 4th floor was stated to be used by the AJL for their press related office. As informed by AJL officials, the printing of the weekly being published by them takes place in the printing press of Indian Express at Noida. The Committee was also made available newspapers which it has started publishing again on the 24th of September, 2017. When enquired whether the paper was being published before the 24th of September, 2017, it was informed that the publishing was earlier stopped and employees were given Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) due to the poor financial condition of the company. As there was no printing activity seen anywhere in the entire premises, it implies that the premises is not being used for the purpose for which the land was allotted. i. e. running of press and the terms and conditions of the lease agreement are not being adhered to.
“It was observed by the inspecting team that most of the areas of the premises have been rented out. If the premises are not being used for the primary use of printing press and related purpose, the renting out of the premises itself becomes misuse of allotted land,” said the Show Cause Notice directing AJL to reply within 30 days, invoking takeover of the building for violations.
From the above Show Cause Notice, it is evident that the new launch of weekly by National Herald (which was a daily newspaper earlier till April 2008) in September 2017 was just a fraud to save the thousands of crores worth properties grabbed by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi firm Young Indian. The irony is that many pliable journalists joined to work in the namesake weekly launched, while forgetting the humongous fraud of looting the Rs.Five Thousand crores worth land and building assets of the National Herald newspaper by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.