New Delhi: Long-defunct English-language newspaper National Herald, which was involved in a controversy over alleged misappropriation of funds, is all set for revival after eight years, the Congress party said on Wednesday.
Along with National Herald, the party is also resuming publication of Hindi-language Navjivan newspaper, according to a statement issued by the Congress and Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publisher of the two titles. The Congress owns AJL.
The newspapers were pulled out of circulation in 2008.
AJL has appointed journalist Neelabh Mishra as the editor-in-chief, it announced on Wednesday. Prior to this, Mishra had served as editor of the magazine Outlook Hindi.
“Mishra shall build and lead the team for both National Herald and Navjivan and their digital and related assets. Both newspapers shall resume publication in the coming months, followed by Quami Awaz,” the company said in a statement. Quami Awaz is an Urdu daily published by AJL.
The move comes after the Supreme Court upheld the 7 December 2015 verdict of the Delhi high court directing Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi back to a trial over the alleged misappropriation of funds.
The case arose on the legality of a loan assigned by Congress-owned AJL to Young Indian Pvt. Ltd, a charitable company. In a complaint, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy alleged that the party loaned Rs.90 crore to AJL and on 28 December 2010, it assigned this debt to Young Indian for Rs.50 lakh.
This, according to Swamy, amounted to breach of trust, cheating, fraud and misappropriation of funds. The Gandhis challenged these allegations in the Delhi high court. On 7 December 2015, the high court dismissed their petition paving the way for the trial.
A news report by PTI quoted Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, who is also the managing director of AJL, as saying that the resumption of the publications will happen in the coming months, without specifying a date.
Vora said the decision was taken at an extraordinary general meeting of AJL in Lucknow in January. In the Lucknow meeting, AJL had decided to convert into a not-for-profit company and relaunch its newspapers.
AJL was founded by former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1937.
“The publication shall seek to give voice to the vision of Pandit Nehru and shall seek to occupy a liberal, progressive, secular space. They shall strive to represent the under-represented and all those deprived of voice, thereby promoting the ideals of a plural, democratic society,” the statement added.
Anuja contributed to this story.