In a big set-back to the Congress party, Delhi High Court rejected the petitions filed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders, in effect upholding the summons to appear before the trial court in National Herald case. The Patiala House trial court had last year summoned the two top-most leaders of principal opposition party in a case filed by BJP member Subramanian Swamy alleging that Congress party acquired the properties of now defunct newspaper National Herald’s publishing firm Associated Journal Ltd. illegally.
The two had moved Delhi High Court seeking the quashing of summons issued by the trial court, but after over an year of hearing, the Delhi HC declined to grant any relief to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.
“Petitions are dismissed,” Justice Sunil Gaur of Delhi High Court ordered while declining to grant them exemption from personal appearance before trial court in the matter.
They will now have to personally appear before the trial court on Tuesday, along with other five accused — Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and the Young India Ltd.
“We intend to challenge the order of the honourable High Court order,” said Congress party spokesperson and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, adding they have a very substantive case to prove that summons doesn’t stand. A. M. Singhvi, along with another senior leader and ace lawyer Kapil Sibal are among the team of lawyers representing party leaders in the case.
Reacting sharply to the High Court order, Rajya Sabha MP KTS Tulsi claimed “it will be proved in the court that there is no case made out against the Congress leaders”.
On the other hand, BJP welcomed the Delhi High Court ruling dismissing the petitions seeking quashing of summons.
The trial court had on June 26, 2014 issued summons seeking personal appearance of Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, vice president Rahul Gandhi, senior leaders Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez and other three. Soon after the Patiala House trial court order, they had moved the Delhi High Court on July 30, 2014, which had stayed the summons till the final disposal of the matter.
The issue relates to the criminal complaint lodged by a senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct daily National Herald by the charitable firm, Young India.
(With inputs from the PTI)