New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday appeared in a trial court here in the National Herald case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and were granted unconditional bail.
Outside, the party engaged in a political battle, attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “targeting his opponents” and terming Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy his “stooge.”
The top two Congress leaders appeared at 3 p.m. before Metropolitan Magistrate Loveleen in the Patiala House courts in the case filed by Swamy.
The party rallied behind its leaders with former prime minister Manmohan Singh and party’s leaders in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad present in the court. Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was also there.
Congress workers had been thronging the party’s central office on 24, Akbar Road since morning to express solidarity with the leaders. They later expressed their joy at the two top party leaders getting bail.
Shortly after returning from the court, both the Gandhis accused Modi of seeking to bend his opponents and said they were not afraid and will fight back. The BJP hit back, terming the Congress as closely linked with “corruption.”
Kapil Sibal, who appeared on behalf of the Congress leaders, told reporters that the court rejected Swamy’s plea to impose restrictions on the travel abroad of Congress leaders.
“We moved an application on behalf of all the accused for grant of bail. The court was kind enough to grant bail without conditions except for furnishing security in the sum of Rs. 50,000 on behalf of each of the accused which were furnished,” he told reporters after the hearing.
The trial court also granted bail to Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, Gandhis’ family friend Suman Dubey and another party leader Oscar Fernandes who also appeared before it.
Congress leader A.K. Antony gave surety for Sonia Gandhi while Priyanka Gandhi gave surety for her brother Rahul Gandhi.
Another accused Sam Pitroda, a former chairman of the National Innovation Council was granted exemption from personal appearance after he moved a plea for the same.
The court fixed the next date of hearing for February 20 at 2 p.m.
The Delhi High Court this month dismissed the Gandhis’ plea to quash the summons issued to them by the trial court on June 26, on Swamy’s complaint about “cheating” in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd., which published the National Herald newspaper, by Young India Ltd., “a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38 percent stake”.
Sonia and Rahul Gandhi disembarked a few metres before the court premises and walked inside amid tight security.
Swamy, the lone petitioner, later described the scene inside. “When the Gandhis entered, they were made to stand in a corner where the accused are supposed to be. They were not allowed to sit except Vora,” he said.
Sonia Gandhi later said she appeared before the court with a clean heart as a law-abiding citizen should do. “The laws of the land apply to everyone without fear or favour. I do not have slightest doubt that the truth will come out,” she said, and also made a reference to her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi who had fought cases against her and returned to power in 1980.
She said the “present central government is deliberately targeting its political opponents and misusing central agencies”.
“No one among us is going to be afraid. Our fight against them will continue. Our struggle to preserve our ideals and for the interest of the poor will continue,” she said.
Rahul Gandhi accused the Modi government of making false accusations against Modi’s opponents to bend them. “He wants a Congress-free India. We won’t let that happen.”
Earlier, Azad accused Modi of backing Swamy in his complaint, while party colleague Randeep Singh Surjewala termed Swamy “a stooge” of Modi.
Swamy rubbished the allegations, while BJP leader Muqtar Abbas Naqvi said his party had nothing to do with the case.
“National Herald is yours. Corruption is yours. BJP has nothing to do with all this,” he told the media.
Sonia accuses government of misusing central agencies
New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday accused the Narendra Modi government of misusing central agencies to target opponents and said her party is not afraid and will continue its fight.
Talking to media persons after appearing in a trial court here in connection with the National Herald case, Sonia Gandhi said the party would continue its struggle for the poor.
“The central government is misusing government agencies to target the opponents. We are not afraid. Our fight will continue. Our struggle for Congress policies and in the interest of the poor will continue,” she said.
Sonia said she appeared in the court with pure heart as any law abiding citizen should do.
“Country’s law equally applies to everybody without any fear and discrimination. I don’t have little bit confusion; truth would come out,” Sonia said.
“We are aware of the agenda of our political opponents’ attack and their censure. This is going on for several generations. It is another thing that they could not succeed in moving us away us from our way,” she added.
Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi also accused the Modi government of levelling false allegations at their opponents.
“I respect the law. Modi ji gets false allegations levelled and thinks that opposition will bend. I want to tell all the citizens of India that the Congress party and I will not bend. We will continue to struggle for the poor and the weak,” Rahul Gandhi said.
“We will continue our opposition work and we will not go back an inch. Modi Ji talks about Congress-free India; India will never be Congress free.”
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh supported Sonia and Rahul’s statements, saying the Congress party is united and will fight.
“Congress party is united in support of what Sonia ji and Rahul ji have mentioned just now. We will give a determined fight based on certain values, certain ideas and certain ideals, which nobody can take away from the party,” Manmohan Singh said.
Both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi appeared in the Patiala House courts Complex here on Saturday in connection with a complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the National Herald case. They were granted bail.
On June 26 last year, the trial court issued summons to the Congress leaders on Swamy’s complaint about “cheating” in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd, which published the National Herald newspaper, by Young India Ltd, a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38 percent stake.
Modi targeting Opp, We won’t bow down: Sonia and Rahul
New Delhi (PTI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul today hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of levelling “false allegations” against them and making “full use” of government agencies to “deliberately target” the Opposition.
Sonia and Rahul, who came straight to the AICC office from the court where they were granted bail in the National Herald case, asserted that they will continue to fight and “not bow down”.
“Today we had appeared before the court with a clean conscience. We did what any law-abiding citizen should do. The laws of the nation applies to everyone without any discrimination. I have no doubt that the truth will come out,” Sonia Gandhi told reporters.
Coming down heavily on Modi government, the Congress President said, “The present government is deliberately targeting the opposition and making full use of the state agencies to do so. Nobody is going to be scared from it. We will continue our fight.” Making a direct attack on the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi said, “Modiji levels false allegations and thinks that the Opposition will bow down, I and Congress party will not succumb.”
Referring to the case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, Sonia Gandhi said that she was totally aware of the intention of the people behind the case. “These people have been trying for long to target us. They will not succeed,” she asserted. Asserting that Congress will continue to fight for the poor, Rahul said, “We will not budge an inch.”
The Gandhis were speaking after they were granted bail in the case based on a private criminal complaint lodged by Swamy against them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the Congress is united in support of Sonia and Rahul. “We will fight. We will give a determined fight,” he said asserting that Congress was a party that stood for certain values and it will not compromise on them.