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'Why is Congress silent?': BJP demands answers on AJL shareholders (Ajit Weekly News Impact)

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New Delhi, June 15 (Ajit Weekly News) The BJP, reacting to Ajit Weekly News’s disclosure about the shareholders of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), has said that if the Gandhi family keeps mum in this whole matter, then these big names (shareholders) should come out and speak publicly.

Speaking to Ajit Weekly News, BJP’s national spokesperson Nalin Kohli said: “The manner in which the first family of Congress (the Gandhis) has grabbed properties worth thousands of crores of AGL is a serious matter and it smells of corruption. Therefore, both Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are out on bail.”

Kohli said that there are names of many big people in it, all of whom are considered to be important or close to the Gandhis and the Congress. “If there is no response from the Gandhi family, then these people should also come forward and tell how the property worth thousands of crores went to the Gandhi family company for just Rs 50 lakh. All the documents related to it should also be made public,” he added.

Another BJP national spokesperson Prem Shukla said that when the Associated Journals’ shares were transferred to Young Indian, as per the rules, the Associated Journals’ shareholders would have met at that time, by bringing a resolution and it would have been passed. The minutes of that meeting should be made public.

“Prima facie, corruption is visible in this whole matter. The Congress gave a loan of Rs 90 crore while the company of Gandhi family Young Indian captured it by paying only Rs 50 lakh, and is taking commercial advantage of it.

Shukla said that there is no reason to give such a favour to Young Indian company. “In such a situation, it is also the responsibility of these shareholders of Associated Journals to come forward and explain the facts related to this transfer,” he stated.

Jyotsna Suri and the late Lalit Suri hold 50,000 shares in Associated Journals, which publishes the National Herald of the Congress. The Young Indian is the largest shareholder of Associated Journals. Harbans Lal Malhotra & Sons holds 16,000 shares, while Rameshwar Thakur holds 26,510 shares. Scindia Investments, and Mohan Meakin hold 5,000 shares each.

Others include a mix of Congress leaders from past and present or those who have been close to the Gandhi family.

Some of the shareholders include Dr K.N. Katju, Vijay Darda, Sushmita Dev, Manickam Tagore, Syed Sibte Razi, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda, Oscar Fernandes, Motilal Vora, J.B. Dadachandji, H.Y. Sharada Prasad, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sucheta Kripalani, Sheila Dikshit among others.

Pawan Kumar Bansal is Chairman and Managing Director of Associated Journals.

The genesis of the controversy started with the acquisition of shares of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) on January 26, 2011. The AJL was incorporated as a public limited company on November 20, 1937 under the Indian Companies Act, 1913, for the purpose of publication of newspapers in different languages.

AJL started publishing newspapers such as National Herald in English, Navjivan in Hindi and Quami Awaz in Urdu. The publication of newspaper was suspended on various occasions due to financial difficulties and certain labour problems. On April 2, 2008, the newspaper was closed.

The properties were allotted for carrying out newspaper business and publication of newspapers in different languages. However, it was also allowed to let out these properties on rent to cater to its publication business post-closure of the newspaper.

The office of AJL was shifted from Lucknow to Delhi on September 1, 2010 at its Delhi property situated at 5A, Herald House, Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, New Delhi. In this chain of events, the All India Congress Committee (AICC), the apex body of the Congress, had advanced loans to AJL from time to time.

In other words, the AICC assigned the loan outstanding in the books of AJL at Rs 50,00,000 to Young Indian. Further, almost 99.99 per cent shares of AJL were transferred to Young Indian. On December 13, 2010, in the first Managing Committee meeting of Young Indian, Rahul Gandhi was appointed as director.

In a nutshell, the National Herald case pertains to the assignment of a Rs 90 crore loan advanced by the Congress party to Young Indian for a consideration of Rs 50 lakh. It has been alleged that there was a misappropriation of assets of over Rs 2,000 crore.

–Ajit Weekly News

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