Government to take over ‘Herald House’ for misuse and violation of allocation norms

The building is reportedly not being used for publishing but has been rented out, Land was allocated at very nominal rates for publication of National Herald.

The Union government has decided to take over the ‘Herald House’ building in Delhi belonging to the Congress mouthpiece National Herald for violations of the specified conditions on which the land was allocated, reported Times of India.

The Congress party’s mouthpiece National Herald runs its offices at ‘Herald House’. The building was reportedly allocated to the promoters of the newspaper for installing a press to print ‘National Herald’ but the premises are not being used for any printing activity and most of it is rented out.

According to the Times of India report, a legal order has been already sent to the allottee regarding the cancellation of the specified allocation. “All due process has been followed. The order has been passed after following the norms, which included a ground survey and after going through their response to our notice,” said an official.

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The Herald House is also not being used for the specified purpose of printing the newspaper, which was the primary condition of leasing the land to the publisher at a highly nominal rate. The publishers have reportedly violated the condition and misused the allotted land and accordingly, the authorities have decided to take it back.

The inspection team has also reportedly found unauthorised construction in the building. The team has also found similar violations in other premises on this stretch and issued notices to the official allottees for their response. “The National Herald case will be an example for other violators. There is an ongoing court case for another building on the same stretch,” the official added.

Manish Tewari, Congress spokesman reacted to the notice and reportedly labelled it as ‘politically motivated and biased order’. He said that the notice will be legally challenged in the courts.

It is notable here that the ‘Herald house’ building is situated in Delhi’s press enclave area and the land was reportedly allocated in the 1950s at a very nominal price to Congress for the printing of the newspaper. National Herald was also allocated lands at other locations like Lucknow, Patna, Mumbai and Panchkula too. It was reported by back in August that the respective state governments have been directed to investigate the land allocation and building usage details of National Herald in their cities.

National Herald scam is one of the most notable legal cases in Indian history, as the Gandhis are directly accused. The Mother-Son duo of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia, along with their aides – Oscar Fernandez, Motilal Vohra and Sam Pithroda are alleged to have involved in massive ‘cheating and breach of trust’ in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) by Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YIL), as assets worth crores of rupees had been allegedly transferred for purposes other than originally intended for a paltry sum. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi got unconditional bail in December 2015.

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