No Eviction From National Herald Offices For Now, Centre Assures Court
There will be no evictions for now from the building of the Congress-linked National Herald newspaper, the government today assured the Delhi High Court, which ordered "status quo" in a case involving land leased to the publishers.
The court has ordered status quo till November 22, when it will take up the case next. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing the government's Land and Development Office, gave the assurance of no action until then.
Associated Journals limited, which owns National Herald, had gone to the high court on Monday challenging a government order on October 30 cancelling its 56-year-old lease and asking it to vacate the building, Herald House, by today.
"It is malicious prosecution and an impugned order vitiated by malafides and ulterior political motives," said Congress leader and lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, during the hearing.
Congress leaders allege that the eviction had started even before the court had decided on Associated Journal's petition.
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.