Modi govt asks PTI to pay RS 84.48 crore - find out why

The Land & Development Office, which comes under the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, has sent a notice to news agency PTI, demanding it to cough up more than Rs 84 crore as penalty.

The notice dated July 7 says that the penalty has been imposed due to "breaches" at its office in Delhi.

The PTI office is built on land leased to the agency by the government and PTI had not paid ground rent since 1984, housing ministry officials told The Print.

The official also alleged that the news agency violated the land-allotment agreement by converting the basement into an office. "Under the lease term, the basement is to be used only for the storage purposes,” the official added.

The notice that sought Rs 84,48,23,281 argues that "the less will be pleased to regularise the breaches in the premises temporarily up to 14.07.2020 and withdraw the right of re-entry of the premises subject to the following conditions being fulfilled by you within 30 days from the date of issue of this letter."

The notice also stipulates that the news agency needs to give an undertaking on non-judicial stamp paper stating that it will pay the difference of "misuse/damage charges" if the land rates are revised with effect from 01.04.2016 by the government and will also remove the "breaches" by 14.07.2020 or get them regularised by paying charges.

The notice also warns that further action to execute the deed has to be subject to complete payment and putting the premise to use according to the masterplan.

The Land & Development Office so warned that an additional 10 per cent interest may need to be coughed out by PTI if it fails to furnish the concerned amount within the stipulated time period.

Additionally, if the news agency fails to comply with the terms within the said period, the concession will be withdrawn. In other words, they will have to pay the penalty up to the actual date of payment then and will also be subject to actions.

This stern notice for alleged violations by PTI comes closely on the heels of national broadcaster Prasar Bharati locking horns with PTI over its reportage that it called "anti-national".

Prasar Bharti had recently sent a letter threatening to end its "relationship" with PTI after it carried an interview of Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong, where he blamed India for the India-China violent standoff that saw 20 Indian bravehearts getting martyred.

(With inputs from IANS)

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