Indore: In another revelation concerning a questionable land deal involving the National Herald newspaper of the Congress, the Arjun Singh government in Madhya Pradesh in the eighties allotted 22,000 square feet of prime property in Indore to the newspaper.
An Indore edition of National Herald was started in 2009, a year after its Delhi edition was shut down. It is run by a chit funds operator, Vishnu Goyal. However, according to the former employees, the edition is a ploy to take over the prime property.
If the records of the Indore district administration are to be believed, a piece of prime property with only a shed is from where National Herald is still being published. The paper, which never had an edition in Indore, was allotted 22,000 square feet of land by Arjun Singh.
In 2008, the Delhi-based paper was officially shut down. However, a year later, in September 2009, Vishnu Goyal, a stock broker and chit funds operator, started publishing it from Indore.
An edition of the newspaper dated September 10, 2009, has the tagline 'founded by Jawaharlal Nehru' under the mast-head and the print line reads: Printed and Published by Vishnu Goyal for Associated Journals. The Indore district administration did raise an alarm in 2011 and cancelled permission for publication.
"We had cancelled their permission but they went to the Press Council and got our order stayed and on records they are still publishing," said Alok Singh, Additional District Magistrate.
The Indore Development Authority also cancelled the land lease in 2011 on grounds that no newspaper could be brought out from the undeveloped property. Goyal who flaunted his connections with Congress leader Motilal Vohra got a stay from the High Court. Dinkar Shukla, a former employee of the original National Hearld, however, alleges that the main objective is to usurp the land.
He said, "I wrote to Motilal Vohra telling him that this man is trying to usurp the land. But he chose not to reply to my letter. Than when I went to Delhi, I met Motilal Vohra and told him about the Indore paper and he told me that he had given the permission to Vishnu Goyal."
Even if it is to be believed that the National Herald is still getting published from Indore, it is a fact that it is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps some copies are published for record sake, but the larger question is – how is Associated Journals allowing Vishnu Goyal to operate on its behalf and publish a newspaper that has officially been shut down in 2008.