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Will Herald case affect Maharashtra Congress also?


The Nehru-Gandhi family connected National Herald’s property in Mumbai will come under scanner and that may cause damage to the party in the state. 

In the middle of the hullabaloo raging over ownership of Associated Journals Ltd, the company that owns National Herald, Navjeevan and Qaumi Awaz newspapers, evaluations of the company’s prime properties ranging from Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 5,000 crore has been doing the rounds. At Bandra’s prime location which was supposed to be kept for building Nehru memorial library is now going to be Congress Bhavan revealed an RTI. In 1983 a prime plot of land in suburban Mumbai was allotted to Associated Journals Ltd by the Maharashtra government for constructing a Nehru memorial library and research centre. Thus the Nehru-Gandhi family connected National Herald’s property in Mumbai will come under scanner and that may cause damage to the party in the state.

The plot is on lease and the company has not completed construction of its complex even after 30 years, only a four-storey under-construction building stands on the site.

The construction of 11-storey building on government-allotted land has not been completed yet which was ideally be completed within three years. But Associated Journals Ltd has managed to build only four floors of the building, which was originally supposed to house a printing press and a library. It was given a 2,463.25-square metre plot at the rate of Rs 950 per square metre in September 1983. The project is totally for commercial purposes comprising two levels of basement parking, an office and atrium on the ground floor and eleven floors of offices.

Anil“As per rules, the work on the said plot for the designated purpose should have started within three years of allotment. However, the construction started in 2014 and that too for a commercial building, with 14 offices and 135 car parks in total,” said RTI activist Anil Galgali, who has written to chief ministers of Maharashtra thrice since 2013 to take the plot back.

“I had written twice to Prithviraj Chavan, then chief minister of Maharashtra to take the plot back. I have also recently urged current chief minister Devendra Fadnavis through a letter to do so as the plot was allotted for a different purpose,” he said.

The Bandra property is valued at about Rs 300 crore on the basis of its commercial development potential of over one lakh sq ft of office space.

SanjayMRCC President Sanjay Nirupam said, “The BJP should not make allegations against us as the construction of Bandra building is yet to be completed. The party may inspect the building whenever it is built.”

Three days back, the Mumbai Congress had taken out a march from Metro Cinema to Azad Maidan to protest BJP’s political vendetta. Nirupam said, “The party would continue its fight against wild allegations levelled by the BJP. BJP, too, has invested money in mutual funds and made efforts to save its official publications”

AshishMumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar said, “The government should reclaim the disputed land immediately from the company which is now constructing Congress Bhavan.”

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