In a huge setback to the Gandhis, the Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to stay the order issued by the central government to vacate the ‘Herald House’ premises by November 15 after finding out that the Sonia Gandhi led Associate Journals Limited (AJL) had violated several regulations at the premises. The next hearing is scheduled for 22nd November.
There is no stay on the order asking Associated Journals Ltd to vacate the premise by Nov 15 after determination of the Perpetual Lease between the Government and AJL. However, SG Tushar Mehta assures the Court that the Govt would not physically take over the premises.
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) November 15, 2018
The Centre gave an oral assurance to the High Court that it will maintain status quo till 22nd November.
According to the reports, the mother-son duo of Sonia Gandhi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi, along with others accused in the National Herald scam had approached the Delhi High Court on November 13th against the Central Government’s orders to vacate the premises they occupy in Delhi.
Hearing the petition of Gandhis, the Delhi High Court adjourned the hearing of the National Herald Case till 22nd November and ordered to maintain a complete status quo to be maintained till next date of hearing.
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing on behalf of the Gandhis has termed the eviction notice as “political motives”. “It’s malicious prosecution & impugned order vitiated by malafides & ulterior political motives,” said Singhvi while challenging the government’s order to vacate the Herald House.
Associate Journals Limited (AJL), which publishes Congress’ mouthpiece National Herald was sent a notice by Ministry of Urban Development on 30th October stating that the lease is being ended and they are to vacate the premises before November 15, after the Union Ministry had found that there were severe violations by the AJL.
The AJL controlled ‘Herald House’ is not currently 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 order had stated that the publishers would face action under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act,1971 if they fail to comply with the evacuation notice.
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.