National Herald Case: Sonia, Rahul to Appear Before Court

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed the pleas of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi seeking to quash summons issued to them by a trial court on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s complaint in the National Herald case.

Justice Sunil Gaur dismissed their pleas which means they will have to appear before the trial court in the case.

ন্যাশনাল হেরল্ড মামলা: সোনিয়া-রাহুলকে হাজিরার নির্দেশ

Apart from the Gandhis, the court also dismissed the pleas of Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, family friend Suman Dubey and party leader Oscar Fernandes who had moved the high court for quashing of summons to them by a trial court.

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The Delhi High Court had on Friday felt that the Congress party could have written off the loan of Rs 90.25 crore owed to it by the publishers of National Herald, instead of assigning it to a charitable company in which some of its leaders are directors.

Justice Sunil Gaur had made the observation while reserving judgement on the pleas of Congress President and the Vice President and four others against a trial court order summoning them on a cheating and breach of trust complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

In response, Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Gandhis, said the loan was assigned to “clean the balance sheets of AJL” and to revive the company so that it can borrow money from the banks and run on its own. The party had loaned Rs 90.25 crore to Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), publisher of National Herald, and on December 28, 2010 it had assigned this debt to Young Indian Ltd (YIL), the charitable company, for Rs 50 lakh, which, according to Swamy, amounted to breach of trust and cheating.

Swamy had contended that the political party was being provided bungalows for office space, free time on government run television and radio, security cover, and exemption from income tax and thus, its “expenditure and investment obviously has to be for furthering public interest and cannot be for furthering private interest of anyone including its office bearers”.

The trial court had on June 26 last year summoned Sonia, Rahul, Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vora, General Secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda to appear before it on August 7, 2014 on the complaint by Swamy. The Congress leaders had, thereafter, on July 30, 2014 moved the high court which had stayed the summons on August 6 last year. On December 15, 2014, the court had stayed the summons till the final disposal of the petitions.

(with PTI inputs)