National Herald: Why dead newspapers’ properties not be seized?


Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and K C Venugopal

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, June 13: The Congress after ages looked alive with workers hitting the street after the party’s former president Rahul Gandhi appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald case.

The top brass of the Congress and the party workers reached the ED office to protest ‘the political misuse of the investigative agency for vendetta’.

The ED had issued summons to Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi to appear in the National Herald case. The former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy had moved the court, alleging that funds had been siphoned off by the Gandhi family from the National Herald.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had previously been granted bail in the National Herald case, which also involves allegations of money-laundering.

On Monday, former Union Minister P Chidambaram, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot led a battery of party leaders to protest the ‘political misuse of the ED’ by the ruling BJP government at the Centre.

The chief of the communication department of the Congress Randeep Singh Surjewala, recently elected to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan, claimed that the party leaders sustained injuries while they were ‘brutally attacked’.

Surjewala also claimed that the Congress national general secretary K C Venugopal was attacked brutally while the party leaders were holding protest peacefully in ‘Gandhian manner’.

Sonia Gandhi was admitted to a hospital in the national capital due to complications attributed to Covid-19.

Surjewala posted a series of short videos to allege that thousands of the Congress workers have been beaten up by the police while the national capital had bene turned into a barrack on Monday.

He also alleged that Chidambaram sustained hairline fracture while he was pushed around by the police personnel during which his spectacle was also thrown on the ground.

Chidambaram had claimed in the past that the National Herald case is unique since the case of money-laundering has been made out even while there had been no financial transactions.

National Herald used to be India’s leading newspaper decades ago while it was launched in 1937 as part of the freedom struggle movement. But as has been the case with newspapers of the yesteryears the National Herald tool plunged into financial crisis due to poor management even while it owned highly valuable properties in the national capital and elsewhere.

Similar has been the case of some other media houses which had got land at prime locations in the national capital which were turned into properties with their subsequent management entering into the business of rents while allowing their papers to die. The Statesman, The Pioneer, The National Herald, The Patriot are some of the examples which have massive properties in the national capital where corporate offices of the companies function even while their newspapers have almost died.

With the Congress workers hitting the ground, the BJP spokesperson were out in the day to link the opposition party with corruption. “The Congress and corruption have deep ties,” alleged Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

While the political kick-boxing takes place in the name of National Herald, it may be known that scores of journalists who worked for the publication are spending their old age in poverty while many of them were removed from the jobs prematurely after years of erratic salary payments.

It will also be pertinent to know why the newspaper owners continue to pocket all the rental wealth out of the buildings that they had built on land given by the government in the name of their publications which are either dead or gasping for breath.

Why shouldn’t the government seize all such properties?

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