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BJP corners Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi after Court orders eviction from National Herald building

The AJL had filed an appeal against the centre's order to vacate the premises. Justice Sunil Gaur rejected the appeal challenging the October 30 order of the centre to end the 56-year-old lease and ruled that the agency will vacate the ITO located in two weeks.

The Union Minister and Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad today launched a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi after the Delhi High Court on Friday ordered the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) to vacate the property of the National Herald. Prasad accused Gandhi family of squatting the government property and clandestinely transferring it in their name through trusts like Young India.

Citing the court judgment, Prasad claimed that the Associate Journal Limited declared closure of all press operations when the Income Tax department approached them. AJL asserted that they had ceased their operations in April 2008 and had given out voluntary retirement to their employees then. However, when the centre issued an order to vacate the government land, they claimed that their operations are continuing there. The inspecting agencies found that no press unit was working on the premises for 10 years and its lease agreement was being used only for commercial purposes.

Prasad also alleged that since the main activity of printing newspaper had stopped, the AJL cannot be allowed to retain the property only to receive rent worth Rs70-80 lakh from it. Prasad also claimed that the National Herald’s assets worth more than Rs 5000 crore were surreptitiously transferred to the Young India Trust for a meagre amount of Rs 50 lakh.

Taking a jibe at Rahul Gandhi, Prasad said, ” The double standard is apparent. Rahul Gandhi is today asking many questions on Rafale deal despite the Supreme Court’s verdict. Will he and his mother explain how they transferred property worth crores on their name through Young India for just 50 lakhs? How can an organisation like Young India get 99% of the AJL’s leased out government property transferred to them?”

The AJL had filed an appeal against the centre’s order to vacate the premises. Justice Sunil Gaur rejected the appeal challenging the October 30 order of the centre to end the 56-year-old lease and ruled that the agency will vacate the ITO located in two weeks. After that, the process of evicting unauthorized occupiers will start. In its defence, the AJL had said that they are still operating the newspaper and its web version was launched in 2016. The Supreme Court had earlier allowed re-assessment of Income-tax files of the National Herald.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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