HC orders Cong controlled AJL to vacate 'Herald House'

HC orders Cong controlled AJL to vacate 'Herald House'

The court found the orders issued by the Land and Development Office on October 30 as “well-reasoned” to cancel lease of Herald House and to vacate the building here. (PTI File Photo)

The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Associated Journal Ltd (AJL), controlled by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi, to vacate 'Herald House' within two weeks.

The court noted that a major portion of the five-storied building raised on 0.3 acres of land leased out on concessional rate was rented out and newspapers 'National Herald' and 'Navjivan' have been shifted out to top floor with hardly any press activity.

It also found questionable the hijacking of AJL by Young Indian Company, whose shareholders are Sonia, Rahul and Motilal Vohra and Oscar Fernandez. The leaders are out on bail on a complaint filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy.

By transfer of AJL's 99% shares to Young Indian Company, the beneficial interest of AJL's property worth Rs 413.40 crore stands clandestinely transferred to Young Indian Company. In fact, the AJL has been hijacked by Young Indian Company, it noted. Justice Sunil Gaur rejected AJL's plea against orders issued by Land and Development Office on October 30, cancelling the lease of 'Herald House', and vacating the building.

Holding the orders as “well-reasoned”, Justice Gaur said, “This court is of the considered view that by no process of reasoning, can it be said that the 'subject premises' is not liable to be proceeded against under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.”

The court said there was no impediment for the authorities to seek eviction of petitioners in case they do not voluntarily vacate the 'premises' and hand over its possession within two weeks.

It also rejected as “preposterous” a contention by senior advocate A M S Singhvi that the government was “deliberately” trying to destroy the legacy of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who had started the publication.

“No instances have been provided by petitioners in support of the serious allegations of mala fide levelled against the ruling dispensation. It has not been shown as to how the impugned order is vitiated by mala fide or what is the bias. It is not spelt out as to what is the oblique motive in passing of the impugned order. One fails to understand as to how the ruling dispensation has in any way erased, effaced or defamed Pt. Nehru. To say the least, the allegations of mala fide are preposterous,” the high court said.

It also noted that strangely, petitioners have not cared to disclose the volume of the publication of their newspaper as it claimed the publication was resumed two years ago after a brief suspension due to financial crisis.