- Delhi High Court rejected a request by Associated Journals
- It had challenged a previous order asking it to vacate the office space
- Centre had said that no press had been functioning in the premises
The publisher of the Congress-linked National Herald newspaper must vacate its office in the capital, the Delhi High Court said today, cancelling a petition by the publisher against a December order to vacate.
The high court rejected a request by Associated Journals in which it had challenged a previous order asking it to vacate the office space in central Delhi.
The government had told the court that no press had been functioning in the premises for at least 10 years and it had been used only for commercial purposes, in violation of its lease. The government, in October last year, cancelled the publisher's 56-year-old lease for the building in Delhi's ITO and asking it to vacate it.
On December 21, 2018, the Delhi High Court asked Associated Journals Limited to vacate the premises within two weeks, after which eviction proceedings would be initiated.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had alleged that Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi - the Congress president - set up a company to buy debts worth Rs. 90 crore owed by Associated Journals, which publishes three newspapers including National Herald, founded by Jawaharlal Nehru - Rahul Gandhi's great-grandfather - before he became India's first prime minister.
In 2008, Associated Journals had shut down over its debts. The BJP alleges that the Gandhis used Congress party funds to pay off its debts even though the publisher has real estate assets worth thousands of crores.
In November last year, National Herald tweeted that it was being targeted by the BJP government for its growing digital presence.
Subramanian Swamy had filed a case in 2012 against then Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, alleging irregularities related to a loan of Rs. 90 crore given by the Congress to the AJL.