New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday said that the summons issued against Sam Pitroda, who along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others, was named as accused on the issue of acquisition of National Herald daily, be served through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The court's direction came after BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is the complainant in the case, informed it that summons issued against Pitroda, former chairman of National Knowledge Commission, has not been served yet. Swamy said Pitroda is presently residing in the USA.
"Let accused number six (Pitroda) be summoned through the MEA....," the magistrate said and fixed the matter for further proceedings on January 31 next year.
The Delhi High Court had earlier stayed the criminal proceedings pending before the trial court against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and others.
The Congress leaders have challenged the lower court's summoning orders against them on a complaint of Swamy alleging cheating and misappropriation of funds in the acquisition of the daily by Young Indian (YI).
The stay from the high court had come as a relief to Sonia, Rahul and others including Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vora, general secretary Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey who were summoned as accused by the trial court.
While summoning the 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.
Swamy had accused Sonia, Rahul and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the Associated Journals Limited had owed to the Congress party.
The accused persons were summoned under sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property, 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.