Court defers hearing in National Herald case

A court here on Tuesday fixed Jan 31 next year as the next date of hearing in a case against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi and others over acquisition of the National Herald newspaper.

IANS| Updated: Dec 09, 2014, 22:08 PM IST

New Delhi: A court here on Tuesday fixed Jan 31 next year as the next date of hearing in a case against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi and others over acquisition of the National Herald newspaper.

Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha also said that summons against Sam Pitroda - former chairman of National Innovation Council (NIC) - should be served through the ministry of external affairs.

The court's direction came after BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is the complainant in the case, informed it that summons issued against Pitroda have not been served yet. Swamy said Pitroda is presently residing in the US.

The Delhi High Court has put on hold a trial court's summons issued against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others.

Apart from the Gandhis, Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vora, family friend Suman Dubey, and Congress leader Oscar Fernandes have sought to quash the proceedings initiated against them by a trial court here.

On June 26, the trial court issued summons on a complaint by Swamy alleging "cheating" in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), the publisher of the now defunct National Herald newspaper, by the Young Indian Private Ltd. (YIL), "a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38-percent stake".

Filing the plea, 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.

The trial court in its order, while summoning the Gandhis and others, had said that YIL appeared to have been "created as a sham or a cloak to convert public money to personal use" or a special purpose vehicle to acquire control over assets worth Rs 2,000 crore of AJL.

Swamy 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.