Union Govt fines Press Trust of India Rs 84 crore for ‘breaches’ in office building

This is the second big action against PTI, since it interviewed the Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong

Image Courtesy:swarajyamag.com

The Union Government has slapped India’s premier news agency, the Press Trust of India with a fine of over Rs 84 crore as a ‘penalty’ for alleged ‘breaches’ at its office building on Parliament Street in New Delhi. 


This is the second big action that the government has taken against PTI, just weeks after Prasar Bharati, the  national broadcaster threatened to cancel its substantial subscription to the agency’s news feed. That happened right after  PTI interviewed the Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, sections of which were quoted by the embassy website. The Prasar Bharati News Service (PBNS) wrote to PTI threatening to withdraw its subscription as the interview caused a sensation with the ambassador’s answers being interpreted as putting the onus on India for the clash in Galwan Valley on June 15, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed brutally.  This PTI interview was also put up on the embassy’s website.

Prasar Bharti, however, seemed to have taken umbrage to that interview and had even termed it ‘anti national’. Last week,  the Land and Development Office, which comes under the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs sent a notice to PTI, asking it to pay the over Rs 84 crore penalty by August 7, after which there will be an additional charge of 10 percent interest on the total dues. 

Journalist Anisha Dutta flagged the notice online and called it a “Fresh attack on PTI.” 


The notice adds that the news agency must 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 retrospective effect from April 1, 2016, and will also remove the “breaches” by July 14, or get them regularised by paying charges. 

According to details shared by journalist Siddharth Zarabi: “Notice also seeks undertaking from @PTI_News that: •it will pay difference if land rates revised w.e.f Apr, 2016. •remove breaches by 14 July/get them regularised. •10% penalty if current demand not paid. •Additional penalty likely post verification of ‘violations.’ (2/3)


According to a report in The Print, an official from the ministry said that “PTI had not paid the ground rent since 1984, and that the agency ‘misused the land-allotment terms by converting the basement into an office.” 


What was so ‘anti national’ about interviewing China’s ambassador to India?



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