National Herald: Gandhis' plea dismissed, Congress calls it vendettatext_fields
New Delhi: As the Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a plea of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi to quash trial court's summons to them in the National Herald case, the party cried "petty vendetta politics of the BJP" in the case.
The Congress termed the complaint by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy in the case "misconceived". Sources said the Gandhis are likely to move tghe Supreme Court on Tuesday.
"The Congress does not view the high court judgment today (Monday) in the National Herald case as a setback, as is being represented in a section of the media. Based on legal advice, we shall pursue the matter in an appropriate legal forum so that lies of the BJP and its dirty tricks department are exposed in the public domain," Congress communications department in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a statement.
He said the party had faced many such cases "sponsored by its political opponents" in its long political journey.
"As part of the BJP's petty vendetta politics, a completely misconceived private complaint was instituted by Subramanian Swamy, who is a member of the BJP's central committee. Even the facts of the complaint disclose no ingredients of any offence committed under the Indian law. The whole purpose is sensationalism, political revenge and a shoddy attempt to malign the Congress leadership," said Surjewala.
"No attempts to malign the Congress leadership through doctored cases will deter us from fighting and exposing the anti-people policies of the present government," he added.
Hailing the high court order, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said: "This is what happens when you buy such a huge property for a pittance. India's law is equal for the common people and Sonia-ji and Rahul-ji. Zyada der luka-chhupi nahi chalti (one can't play hide-and-seek for long)."
The dismissal of the Gandhis' plea by Justice Sunil Gaur on Monday means they would have to appear before the trial court in the case.
Besides the Gandhis, the high court also dismissed the pleas of Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, family friend Suman Dubey and party leader Oscar Fernandes for quashing of summons to them by the trial court.
"This court is of the considered view that the gravity of the allegations levelled against petitioners has a fraudulent flavour involving a national political party and so, serious imputations smacking of criminality levelled against petitioners need to be properly looked into," the high court said.
"Without casting any reflection on the merits of this case and while leaving the larger questions raised in these petitions open, to be considered at the charge stage, these petitions and the pending applications are dismissed with afore-noted clarification."
On June 26, the trial court summoned the Congress leaders on Swamy's complaint about "cheating" in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) by Young India Ltd. (YIL) - "a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38 percent stake".
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Sonia Gandhi, sought quashing of the proceedings initiated by the lower court against her and others, saying that the complaint made by Swamy against them was only "allegations without any supporting proof".
He said there was no illegality in YIL taking over AJL, the publisher of the now-defunct National Herald newspaper, as per the Companies Act.
Swamy had claimed that Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, as majority shareholders of YIL, benefited from the acquisition of AJL. He alleged that the AJL received interest-free loan of Rs.90.25 crore from the Congress and that the party transferred the debt to YIL for Rs.50 lakh.
The AJL, with Vora as its chairman, claimed it could not repay the loan and agreed to transfer the company and its assets to YIL.
"...the court gave the decision that there is substance in the case. Therefore, the trial against the accused should begin. The accused have to appear before the Patiala court tomorrow (Tuesday). Whether the accused get bail or not is a matter of debate; they can also approach the Supreme Court," said Swamy.