New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today issued notice to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on a batch of petitions filed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and others in the case of alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of the now-defunct daily National Herald.
A bench of Justice V P Vaish has fixed the petitions for hearing at 2.30 PM on August 5. Former law minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sonia Gandhi, sought a stay on the proceedings pending in the trial court.
"The matter is listed on August 7 before the trial court. I will pass an order before that," Justice Vaish said. During the brief hearing, Swamy alleged that the petitions have been filed without him being served with copies of petitions.
Besides Sibal, a battery of senior lawyers including A M Singhvi, Haren Raval and Ramesh Gupta appeared on behalf of accused Congress leaders.
The Congress leaders have challenged the lower court`s orders summoning them on a complaint by Swamy alleging cheating and misappropriation of funds in the acquisition of the daily by Young Indian (YI).
Besides Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Party Treasurer Moti Lal Vora are among the directors of Young India which was recently given almost 99 per cent ordinary shares of the Associated Journals Limited AJL. AJL had been publishing newspapers `National Herald` in English, "Navjivan" in Hindi and "Quami Awaz" in Urdu.
They have sought interim stay on the summons issued by the trial court on June 26. Sonia Gandhi has also sought setting aside of the compliant itself saying it was "politically motivated and intended to wreak vengeance and unleash political vendetta" against her.
The trial court on June 26 had summoned Sonia, Rahul, Vora, party General Secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda to appear before it on August 7.
While summoning the six as accused in the case, the trial court had held that Swamy has established a prima facie case of cheating, misappropriation of funds and criminal breach of trust against them.