The Delhi High Court on Monday sought the response of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and other accused in the National Herald case in connection to a plea filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy seeking to lead evidence in the matter before the trial court. Justice Suresh Kait, while issuing the notice to the Gandhis, AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and Young India (YI), sought their response on the plea by April 12.
Advocate Satya Sabharwal appeared for the BJP MP and advocate Tarannum Cheema appeared for the Gandhis. Both stated that the Delhi HC has issued a notice in the matter and stayed the trial court proceedings till April 12.
Dr Subramanian Swamy, in a private criminal complaint in the trial court, accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying only Rs 50 lakh, through which Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that Associate Journals Ltd, owner of National Herald, owed to the Congress. However, all the seven accused - the Gandhis, AICC treasurer Motilal Vora, AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and YI - have denied the allegations. Proceedings against Vora abated subsequent to his death.
Dr Swamy had moved the high court aggrieved by a trial court order of February 11 declining, for the time being, his plea to lead evidence to prosecute the Gandhis and the other accused in the case. The trial court had said that Swamy's application under section 244 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to lead evidence would be considered after his examination in the case was over.
The BJP MP had sought summoning of certain witnesses, including the secretary general (registry officer) of the Supreme Court, a deputy land and development officer, and a deputy commissioner of Income Tax, and also directions to them to prove certain documents which are part of the case.
Earlier in 2014, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Vora, Fernandes, Dubey and Pitroda were summoned by the trial court for the alleged offences of misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust and cheating, read with criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code.
(With PTI inputs)