Delhi High Court Orders Associated Journals Ltd To Vacate Herald House

| February 28 , 2019 , 13:06 IST

The Delhi High Court on Thursday has ordered  Associated Journals Limited (AJL), publisher of National Herald newspaper to vacate the Herald House in Delhi.

Cancelling a petition by the publisher against a December order to vacate, Delhi High Court said, "The publisher of the Congress-linked National Herald newspaper must vacate its office in the capital."

A two-judge bench had reserved its decision on February 18 after hearing arguments from the publisher -- Associated Journals Limited (AJL) -- and the central government.

The high court rejected a request by Associated Journals in which it had challenged a previous order asking it to vacate the office space in central Delhi.

On December 21, 2018, the Delhi High Court asked Associated Journals Limited to vacate the premises within two weeks, after which eviction proceedings would be initiated.

The judge who delivered the December ruling said that AJL had been "hijacked" by Young India (YI), in which Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi are shareholders.

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By a transfer of 99 per cent of AJL shares to YI, the judge said, the beneficial interest of the publisher's property worth Rs 413.40 crore stood "clandestinely" transferred to YI.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had alleged that Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi 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.

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