New Delhi: The much hyped halla-bulla over the appearance of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the high profile National Herald case ended within few minutes on Saturday at Patiyala House Court.
The mother-son duo made a rare court appearance today at the apex court and won bail in a case of alleged graft they say Prime Minister Narendra Modi uses in a vendetta against their family.
Shortly after the hearing was over, defence lawyer Kapil Sibbal said that Subramanian Swamy had asked for travel restrictions to be placed on the accused which the judge declined.
“The next hearing for the National Herald case is scheduled for February 20, at 2:00 pm,” Sibbal added.
He also said that Sam Pitroda was granted exemption due to his medical condition.
Subramanian Swamy also demanded bailable warrant against Sam Pitroda for non appearance and also opposed bail for the Gandhis.
The Gandhis along with the other accused in the National Herald case appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen in response to summons issued against them. They have been summoned by the trial court on prima facie charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust and dishonest misappropriation of property under relevant sections of the law.
Hundreds of members of the Congress party earlier in the day massed outside the court premises in Delhi in a show of support for the torchbearers of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has ruled India for most of its post-independence era after 1947.
In the case, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has alleged the Gandhis misused party funds to illegally acquire real estate assets worth millions of dollars.
However, the Gandhis deny any wrongdoing and said that they would not be deterred by attempts to frame them.
"I appeared in court with a clear conscience as every law abiding citizen should do," Sonia told reporters after the court hearing, where she was flanked by several senior party leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
"The current government is intentionally targeting its opponents by using government agencies," Sonia said.
The legal battle has sown further bitterness between the Congress and PM Modi, who had vowed a "Congress-free India" even before he crushed the Gandhis in an election last year.
The war of words between the arch rivals has also stalled parliament proceedings and dimmed hopes of any compromise on a long-delayed tax.
PM Modi`s top aides have denied any involvement in the case. After the hearing, a senior Congress leader said its lawmakers will continue to disrupt the Parliament session that runs until next week.
(With Agency inputs)