National Herald scam gets murkier. Urban Development Ministry’s Show Cause Notice exposes more frauds

A property-grab scam in the garb of running a newspaper, the National Herald fraud keeps throwing up more violations

A property-grab scam in the garb of running a newspaper, the National Herald fraud keeps throwing up more violations
A property-grab scam in the garb of running a newspaper, the National Herald fraud keeps throwing up more violations

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.

17 COMMENTS

  1. If things are moving at this pace , I am sure the people of India will laugh at Mr. Modi after 2019. Only person interested in exposing these tainted corrupt people is Dr.Swamy. Whatever good work Our PM did will go in gutters.
    Our PM and most of the ministers are honest , sincere and hardworking but failed to understand why he is not separating the rotten apples from his apple basket

  2. The bonanza made on ‘commercial leasing’ of the ‘nationwide properties belonging to AJL/NH’ from the year 2011 itself would have amounted to a whopping billion rupees.

    A thorough auditing of the entire lease deeds is imperative.

    Moreover the TAX COMPLIANCE on the REVENUES accrued from leasing the real estate should be thoroughly scrutinized

  3. No mater how much effort Dr.Swamy puts in bringing out corrupt sonia ,as long as Arun jaitley is FM,sonia will not be punished.This seems to be the bitter truth we have to swallow.

  4. No mater what facts cme out of the much delayed investigation of variuos corruption charges against sonia and family,as long as arun jaitley is the finance minister, leave alone sonia and family,nobody in congress will ever be convicted.This is a bitter truth and a himalayan impediment to BJP’s return to power in 2019.No mater how sincere and hardworking our PM,Nitin ,piyush goel ,Nirmala sitaraman and host of other BJP
    mbers are,Arun jaitley alone is sufficient to pull down BJP.Infact when Dr.Swamy started pursuing national herald case this s criminal liar mentinoed that this is another case which sonia could win by hook or crook with famous lawyers and liers.Sad, very sad to have this FM

  5. Lack of seriousness/commitment on the part of the Government to nail the culprits has delayed things to this extent. This is just like giving a feeling to the common folks that “we are after the corrupt… however mighty they may be…” – but never really catching them. (The fact is that Dr. Swamy is working tirelessly and Government is trying to take credit for any results he achieves; however the due process of law operates at a snail’s pace in our country which IMO needs immediate attention & overhaul as many people do not get justice during their lifetimes in Civil cases)

    (Some “intelligent” fellow in the BJP decided that all the good things NaMo Government will provide to the people of India in the 5th year of Governance ONLY so that people will remember during the elections! I think at this rate, the people will surely feel cheated, having nothing to remember except the travails they went through on account of Demonetization, GST etc.)

  6. I fail to understand the delay in TAKING OVER of the NH properties nationwide. It has been clearly established that AJL is doing nothing that is even remotely connected to Newspaper. Then why this delay???

  7. What is Prannoy Roy to the ‘Electronic Media’, Shekar Gupta is to the ‘Print Media’. Both are filtered ruffians.

    Goenkaji set an example for the press freedom by boldly facing the imperialistic, autocratic forces

    This corrupt rascal SG has surrendered everything at the altar of the Italian Mafia Queen.

    After Modi returns in 2019, a thorough investigations on the criminal scribes who made hay during the Mafia Manmohan decade should commence & attach their ill-gotten wealth under the stringent BENAMI ACT

  8. sorry to say that nothing serious is happening to any of the corrupt congress gang be it the Gandhi family or the Chidambaram or any one that matter. It’s a shame indeed the govt is so impotent

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