National Herald to resume publication even as Rahul, Sonia fight legal battle

New Delhi: Congress mouthpiece National Herald, which became defunct in 2008, shall resume publication, the Associated Journals Ltd announced on Wednesday, naming senior journalist Neelabh Mishra as its new Editor-in-Chief.

“The Associated Journals Ltd, a company founded in 1937 by Pandit Jawaharalal Nehru, has taken steps to resume publication of its English and Hindi newspapers National Herald and Navjivan.

“The company has appointed senior journalist Neelabh Mishra as Editor-in-chief for its Hindi and English newspapers and digital properties with immediate effect,” Congress Treasurer Motilal Vora, who is also managing director of AJL Limited, announced on Wednesday.

Without specifying the exact date when the newspapers plan to resume publication, he said it would happen in coming months and will be followed by reviving of Quami Awaz, its defunct Urdu newspaper.

Mishra had earlier been Editor of Outlook Hindu and has done extensive work in areas of research and documentation including for the Right to Information movement and legislation.

Vora said the spirit of the forthcoming publications of The Association Journals Limited, a not for profit company, is captured by the tagline “Freedom is in peril, defend it with your might”.

He said the publications shall seek to give voice to the vision of 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 party,” he said.

Announcing the plans of relaunching the newspaper last month, Vora had said the decision was taken at an Extraordinary General Meeting of AJL in Lucknow in January and the process is on.

In the Lucknow meeting, the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) had decided to convert into a not-for-profit company and re-launch its newspapers.

The decision had come in the midst of a legal battle over its past, which has ensnared Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul. The issue is pending in court.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who has also filed a private complaint in a local court, has accused top Congress leaders of misappropriation, a charge vehemently denied by the Congress leadership.

Swamy has also written to Urban development Ministry demanding cancellation of land allotment and confiscation of properties to AJL for alleged violation of allotment conditions.

Both Sonia Gandhi and and Rahul Gandhi along with five others have been granted bail by the court on December 19, 2015 after they appeared in response to the summons.

The Enforcement Directorate has separately booked former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda,officials of the Associated?Journal Limited (AJL), publisher of the National Herald newspaper, and others on charges of alleged money laundering.

The central probe agency registered a criminal case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after taking cognisance of a Haryana State Vigilance Bureau FIR of May this year.

The Vigilance Bureau?had registered a case of cheating and corruption against Hooda and four officials who were in HUDA for allegedly realloting a plot to AJL in Panchkula in 2005.