The National Herald controversy threatens to rear its head in Madhya Pradesh too where the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) had allegedly sold the land leased to it for publication purposes to different owners without seeking permission from the authorities, official sources said on Thursday.
The one acre land is situated in Bhopal’s posh area Press Complex in MP Nagar where now stand a big shopping mall, two electronic gadgets showrooms and several other commercial establishments on the AJL land.
State BJP media incharge Hitesh Bajpai said this only showed a clear cut loot of public property by the Congress leaders. However, senior Congress leader Manak Agrawal said the central government was targeting the AJL out of a political vendetta.
The Bhopal Development Authority (BDA) is fighting a legal battle in the Madhya Pradesh high court against four persons who at present claim to be the rightful owners of the land.
According to BDA officials, the land was sold to the AJL for Rs 1 lakh on a 30-year lease during the Congress rule in 1982 for running its publications-- National Herald, Hindi daily Navjeevan and Urdu daily Kaumi Awaz.
However, later in 2011, the BDA came to know that the ownership of the land had changed many hands when it tried to contact the AJL and sent many notices to the same on the expiry of the land lease, they said. Later, the BDA initiated the process to get the registry of the different portions of the land cancelled through the lower court.
Talking to HT, BDA chairman Om Yadav admitted that some irregularities had been committed in the transfer of the land.