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National Herald case: Sonia, Rahul Gandhi asked to appear in court on Dec 19

In a temporary relief to Congress' president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the hearing in National Herald case has been adjourned till December 19.


National Herald case: Sonia, Rahul Gandhi asked to appear in court on Dec 19

New Delhi: In a temporary relief to Congress' president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the hearing in National Herald case has been adjourned till December 19.

Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi moved an exemption application before the Delhi High Court on Tuesday saying that the accused are 'clean, ready and willing' to appear before the court.

Citing busy schedule of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Singhvi told court, "Rahul is in Chennai to visit flood-hit areas, and Sonia Gandhi is busy in Parliament's schedule. While one of the accused Sam Pitroda is in US."

"The next hearing is scheduled at 3PM on Decemeber 19," Singhvi told mediapersons.

"Barring Sam Pitroda, all the accused will remain present in the court on the next hearing," Singhvi assured court.

Earlier, on Monday, in a major setback to the Gandhis, Delhi HC Justice Sunil Gaur had turned down the plea of the mother-son duo and five others for exemption from personal appearance in the case in the trial court.

Justice Gaur had made scathing observations on the "questionable conduct" regarding how they took control of the publication.

Along with the Gandhis, five other accused--Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd - had challenged the summons issued to them by a trial court on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy against them for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct daily.

On June 26, the trial court issued summons to the Congress leaders on Swamy's complaint about "cheating" in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) by Young India Ltd. (YIL) - "a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38 percent stake".

The BJP leader had claimed that Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, as majority shareholders of YIL, benefited from the acquisition of AJL. He 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.

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