Setback to Sonia, Rahul in National Herald case

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Dec 2015 14:12:21

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi



CONGRESS President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi on Monday suffered a big jolt when the Delhi High Court rejected their pleas for quashing the summons against them in the National Herald case, an order the party plans to challenge in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Making scathing observations on the “questionable conduct” regarding how they took control of the publication, Justice Sunil Gaur also turned down the plea of Gandhis and five others for exemption from personal appearance in the case in the trial court, where it is listed for Tuesday. Along with the Gandhis, five other accused--Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd--had challenged the summons issued to them by a trial court on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy against them for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct daily.
“After having considered the entire case in its proper perspective, this court finds no hesitation to put it on record that the modus operandi adopted by petitioners in taking control of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) via special purpose vehicle i.E. Young India Ltd (YIL), particularly, when the main persons in Congress Party, AJL and YIL are the same, evidences a criminal intent.
“Whether it is cheating, criminal misappropriation or criminal breach of trust is not required to be spelt out at this nascent stage.
“In any case, by no stretch of imagination, it can be said that no case for summoning petitioners as accused in the complaint in question is made out. Questionable conduct of petitioners needs to be properly examined at the charge stage to find out the truth and so, these criminal proceedings cannot be thwarted at this initial stage,” the judge said in his 27-page order.
The judge was also of the view that “the gravity of the allegations levelled against petitioners (Sonia, Rahul and others) 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”.
Reacting to the order, the Congress said it will be challenged as there are “several legal deficiencies” in the verdict. Party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi, who is the senior advocate representing the Vice President, brushed aside suggestions that it was a major setback for them in the case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.
“These things are subjective...We have an open and shut case. There have been several legal deficiencies. We have unassailable arguments”, he told reporters making it clear that the party will “not only challenge, but will take all legal recourses and avenues”.
“We are clear that we intend to challenge it (High Court order) on all recourse available, at appropriate forum. We intend to seek a continuation of the exemption (from personal appearance) and stay (on proceedings) which has been continued for over a year when the matter was pending in the high court,” he said.
Meanwhile, Swamy said he has filed a caveat in the apex court to pre-empt any ex-parte order on the appeals likely to be moved by them.