Congress’ National Herald Headache Increases With Shanti Bhushan

Shanti Bhushan joins the National Herald row. Spells trouble for Congress leadership.

2 min read

Former law minister Shanti Bhushan has now thrown his hat into the ring in the National Herald case.

Turns out, Shanti Bhushan is one of The Associated Journals Ltd’s 1,057 shareholders.

While rejecting the plea by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others against summons in the National Herald case, the Delhi High Court made some scathing remarks saying that the conduct of Congress office-bearers “smacks of criminality”.

A major question that remains unanswered was,

Why should Young Indian, majority (76 per cent) owned by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, be assigned The Associated Journals Ltd’s (AJL’s) debt of Rs 90 crore that was written off by the Congress party. AJL had 1,057 shareholders in March 2010.
Shanti Bhushan

AJL, which published National Herald amongst others, was acquired by Young Indian in December 2010.

Bhushan says his father, who was a “staunch Congressman”, had acquired 500 AJL shares in 1938. He questions the manner in which the transfer was done.

We will take steps to challenge the decision to transfer the shares to one company with only four shareholders. AJL was started by a large number of patriotic people including my father.

He continued,

If it was not necessary to run the newspaper, then the object clause of the company could have been altered. The assets of AJL were of a value of Rs 2000 crore. The debt was Rs 90 crore that was required to pay off employees. In lieu of the Rs 90 crore, nine crore shares were allotted to YIL. By a sleight of hand, the assets of AJL were transferred to YIL. This is a violation of rights.

Bhushan expressed surprise at the fact that as a shareholder he was not notified about any meeting by AJL to discuss the transfer to Young Indian.

My impression is that that had not called for a meeting of the shareholders and decisions were taken without informing the shareholders. The law is, even if a single shareholder is not sent a notice of the meeting the meeting will be void.

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