More skeletons are tumbling out of Congress’ closet as a report by Times Now suggests that huge land in Mumbai was acquired by Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) meant for a Dalit hostel at throwaway price and converted into a commercial property. According to the report, approximately 3,500 square meters of land was allotted to AJL in 1983 which was valued at Rs 262 crore in 2017.
#Breaking | TIMES NOW SUPER #EXCLUSIVE.@dir_ed had attached 3478 sq metres of land belonging to the Gandhis in Mumbai. The Gandhis received the land through Associated Journals Limited.— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) July 14, 2020
This land actually was meant for an SC/ST hostel.
Details by Navika Kumar. pic.twitter.com/slOXzsi3g5
The channel has accessed several documents that contain a report submitted in 2018 by a one-person committee led by Mr. Chatterjee. The report mentioned that most of the records related to the land allotment were not found as they were allegedly burnt in the 2012 fire in the ministry.
Land meant for SC/ST hostel
The report said that there is proof that the land was sanctioned for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students’ hostel as per the detailed proposal of 1967. However, the then government moved ahead and allotted the land to Associated Journals for commercial purposes. The government did not follow any existing rules and regulations at that time, the report suggested. The land was given at throwaway prices.
As per the rules, anyone who gets the land sanctioned by the government must start construction within two years. However, in this case, from 1983 to 2000, there was no construction on the said land. It was initially allotted to build the hostel, but when the construction started, a commercial building was built by the AJL. The building was used for rentals and other commercial activities.
Commercial properties on the land cover four times more than permitted limit
According to the regulations, only 20,000 square feet of commercial properties were allowed on the land. However, they built 80,000 square feet of commercial properties that are four times more than the permitted coverage. Through a special dispensation, then government also reduced the revenue share percentage to be paid to the government for the sanctioned commercial land. While other commercial lands allotted by the government have to pay 50 percent of the revenue, revenue from the said land was reduced to 30 percent giving huge benefit to AJL owned by Gandhi family.
Enforcement Directorate has also attached Panchkula land in the ongoing investigation on AJL that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for the last five years. In January 2019, a tax notice of Rs.100 crore was slapped on Gandhis for under-reporting AJL’s income. Associated Journal Limited is owned by Young Indian, a company controlled by the Gandhi family. AJL publishes the National Herald newspaper. In May this year, the ED attached National Herald’s building worth Rs 16.38 crore in Mumbai’s Bandra under PMLA.
National Herald Scam
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 interim President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, along with their aides – Oscar Fernandez, Motilal Vohra and Sam Pitroda 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.