How A National Herald-Like Scam Is In The Offing From Congress In Tamil Nadu, As Alleged By Thughlak Editor, Gurumurthy

How A National Herald-Like Scam Is In The Offing From Congress In Tamil Nadu, As Alleged By Thughlak Editor, GurumurthyCongress president Sonia Gandhi with Rahul Gandhi (Representative Image) (Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via GettyImages) 
  • In the National Herald scam, Young India Limited (YIL) had taken over the assets of the National Herald newspaper.

    Gurumurthy alleges that something similar has happened with the properties of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) trust.

A National Herald-like scandal is brewing in Tamil Nadu with the Congress 'High Command' taking over the immovable properties of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) trust that run into thousands of crores of rupees.

The issue has been brought to light by S Gurumurthy, Editor of Tamil magazine Thuglak and Swadeshi Jagran Manch co-convenor, through a series of tweets.

Gurumurthy has, in his tweet, alleged that trustees of the TNCC trust were summoned in 2009 to meet Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. They were asked to sign some documents.

One of the trustees, who was then out of the country, wrote to Rahul that he/she had concerns but the Congress leader did not respond.

Basically, Gurumuthy alleges that a National Herald scam II is brewing as the trust has properties worth Rs 20,000 crore. It also receives rent from these properties running into crores.

According to the Thughlak editor, Rahul Gandhi’s friend Kanishk Singh has taken over the trust documents and accounts. He wondered what trustees such as G K Vasan and Jayanthi Natarajan, both who are no more in Congress, are doing.

Gurumurthy’s grievance is that no trustee is aware of these developments with regard to the trust set up by the late Congress leader K Kamaraj and Indian Express founder Ramnath Goenka.

The trust came into existence after the 1958 All India Congress session at suburban Avadi. “So, the untenanted asset taken over by usurpers. We are investigating,” Gurumurthy added.

According to the the Thughlak editor, G K Vasan, who broke ranks from the Congress in 2014 and revived the Tamil Maanila Congress, called him to say that he was not aware of the happenings in the trust after he left the national party.

The Teynampet Congress grounds, that houses the famous Kamarajar auditorium used for functions and music concerts, is the crown jewel of the TNCC trust.

The property is near the Anna Flyover near Gemini with many landmarks such as Directorate of Medical Services, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s headquarters Arivalayam, US Consulate, and a couple of five-star hotels around it.

A former TNCC trustee had alleged that the Congress High Command wanted to construct a five-star hotel on the property besides a mall. A joint venture agreement was reportedly signed some 15 years ago for this, but no development has taken place so far.

One of the issues raised by Gurumurthy is the nomination of veteran Congress leader Motilal Vora. According to him, Vora is 92 years old and his health is such that he cannot read.

An important argument put forth by the Thughlak editor is the appointment of Vora as one of the TNCC trust trustees. He quoted a report by The Hindu, which said the veteran leader’s induction into in TNCC trust has been questioned.

The report said he was appointed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and it was the first instance when a person not belonging to Tamil Nadu was inducted into the trust.

Gurumurthy pointed out that the then TNCC president EVKS Elangovan issued a press statement that Vora and party spokesperson C R Kesavan had been appointed as trustees of TNCC Trust by Sonia Gandhi.

The Thughlak editor argued that trustees to the TNCC trust could be appointed only by the TNCC working committee, whilst Vora and Kesavan had been appointed by Sonia Gandhi.

According to Gurumurthy, the takeover of the trust was a repeat of the National Herald scam.

In the National Herald scam, Young India Limited (YIL) had taken over the assets of the National Herald newspaper, meant to voice the concerns of the Indian National Congress, through the acquisition of the Associated Journals Ltd (AJL).

The AJL was floated by Nehru along with 5,000 other members, some of who alleged that the company was taken over by YIL without any notice and it had properties worth over Rs 20,000 crore.

Sudarshan Nachiappan, a life trustee of the TNCC Trust, when contacted by Swarajya, said Gurumurthy’s allegations were misleading. He said no such take over of the lands was happening and the Thughlak editor was trying to divert the attention from “troubles he is personally facing”.

EVKS Elangovan, when contacted, said there was no substance in the allegations and added that TNCC trust had a lot of regulations which would not allow the takeover by the Congress High Command.

“There is no such proposal to take over TNCC trust lands. It cannot be done so easily,” he said.

The Thughlak editor’s allegations have also been denied by TNCC president K S Alagiri and former TNCC president S Thirunavukkarasar.

Gurumurthy has, quoting “insiders”, now alleged that Congress was not paying any rent for the Satyamurthy Bhavan it is occupying near the prestigious Express Mall off arterial Anna Salai.

He has said that he will likely come out with more details on how the trust was not working for the purpose it was set up for.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani


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