Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the publishers of the beleaguered National Herald group of newspapers, will hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Thursday in Lucknow to seek shareholders’ nod for changing the structure of the company from a commercial to a non-profit entity.
AJL had published advertisements in newspapers on December 19 last year announcing the meeting, a day before the Congress top brass was to appear before a trial court in Delhi in the National Herald case.
The published noticed had said: “The Board of the company has been considering for more than four years that the company should not be commercially motivated with a view to distribute any benefits or dividends to its members. It should, instead, operate and undertake its activities for the larger public goods.”
According to the notice that appeared in Lucknow-based newspapers, the meeting will seek the approval of 762 shareholders for turning AJL into a not-for-profit, Section-8 company under the Companies Act, 2013.
A Section-8 company is a venture established “for promoting commerce, art, science, sports, education, research, social welfare, religion, charity, protection of environment or any such other object” and profits from such a company’s activities, as well as any other income earned by it, can be used only for promoting the objectives of the company.
The notice was issued by AJL managing director and senior Congress leader and treasurer Motilal Vora, who was one of the seven people to be summoned by a Delhi court in response to the summons in the National Herald case. Vohra is expected to chair the meeting.
The shareholders will also be asked to change the name of the company from AJL to a new name.
It is expected that after this move Young Indian Limited (YIL), the private company in which Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi hold majority stake, will be merged with AJL.
This move is being considered as an attempt to rectify illegalities found by the trial court and Delhi high court that led to the summoning of Sonia and Rahul.
The AJL and its office bearers have been in the eye of a political and legal storm ever since it came out in the open that Vora along with other directors in the company had transferred its entire equity to the new company YIL in December 2010. Other office-bearers include party leaders like Vora, Oscar Fernandes or Gandhi family loyalists like Sam Pitroda and Suman Dubey.
(With agency inputs)