The Centre has issued a show-cause notice to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publisher of the Congress-linked National Herald newspaper, asking it why an eviction order should not be issued to get its premises at Delhi's ITO vacated, an official of the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday.
According to the official, the government has initiated proceedings under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 in the case following the court's order.
"A notice was issued on Tuesday under the PP Act, seeking the AGL's reply by March 13 as to why an eviction order should not be issued," the official said.
The notice comes after the Delhi High Court dismissed AJL's plea challenging a single-judge order to vacate the premises at ITO. On February 28, a Delhi High Court bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao rejected the appeal of AJL in which it had challenged the Centre's decision asking it to vacate the ITO premises.
The high court had held that the entire transaction of transferring shares of AJL to Young Indian (YI) company, in which Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi are majority shareholders, was a "clandestine and surreptitious transfer of the lucrative interest in the premises" to YI.
AJL had appealed against the single judge's December 21, 2018 order that directed it to vacate the premises within two weeks, after which eviction proceedings under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971, would be initiated.
The Centre has ended its 56-year-old lease and asked AJL to vacate the premises, saying no printing or publishing activity was going on and the building was being used for commercial purposes only.