Herald case: HC reserves order on Gandhis plea against summons

New Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Friday reserved its verdict on 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 National Herald case.

Justice Sunil Gaur reserved the order after all the parties concluded their arguments in the case.

Apart from the Gandhis, Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, family friend Suman Dubey, and party leader Oscar Fernandes had moved the high court for quashing of summons to them by a trial court on Swamy’s complaint. The high court had earlier stayed the criminal proceedings in the trial court.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sonia Gandhi, sought quashing of the proceedings initiated by a lower court against her, and the others, saying the complaint made by Swamy against them were only “allegations without any supporting proof”.

He said there was no illegality of Young India Ltd. (YIL) taking over Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), the publisher of the now-defunct National Herald newspaper, as per the Companies Act.

Swamy claimed that Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, as majority shareholders of YIL, benefited from the acquisition of AJL. He alleged that AJL had received an interest-free loan of Rs.90.25 crore from the Congress and that the party transferred the debt to YIL for Rs.50 lakh.

At the time, AJL, which had Vora as its chairman, claimed that it could not repay the loan and agreed to transfer the company and its assets to YIL.

On June 26, the trial court issued summons to the Congress leaders on Swamy’s complaint on “cheating” in the acquisition of AJL by YIL – “a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38 percent stake”.

Filing the plea in the high court, the Congress leaders said Swamy was a political opponent and the present criminal proceedings were initiated only with an intent to secure an oblique political objective.

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