New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that the summons issued against her, Rahul Gandhi and five others was "illegal" in the National Herald case as the acquisition of Associated Journal Ltd by Young India was a "company matter".
"There was no criminal breach of trust and no criminal conspiracy and neither any cheating took place and it is a simple company matter where Young India has taken over the Associated Journal Ltd (AJL)," senior advocate Kapil Sibal told a bench of Justice Sunil Gaur.
In a hearing that lasted around 45 minutes, Sibal, who represented the Congress chief, said that the trial court order summoning Gandhi was "full of illegality".
He said that due to emotional attachment with AJL as it was supported by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi during Quit India movement, the party helped it by issuing loans worth Rs 90 crores over a period of 50 years.
"A section 25 company named Young India was floated with an aim of charity and it is a no-profit-or-loss company and Congress party had decided to give Rs 90 crore to Young India as a loan," Sibal said.
"Complainant (Subramanian Swamy) alleges that a criminal conspiracy was hatched by the accused and there was breach of trust. When Congress party can get donations why can't it give donations? How is it breach of trust?
"Suppose Congress gives donation to AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) and it uses the money for some other purpose, which may not be to the liking. Will it be a breach of trust?," Sibal said.
To this, Justice Gaur asked what was the reason for Congress party to assign the loan to Young India.
"Young India is a charitable company and since AJL's news paper National Herald was running in losses like most newspapers in India do, the amount was used for purchasing the equity shares of it," Sibal said.
Besides Sonia and Rahul, Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vora, General Secretary Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey had moved the High Court on July 30, 2014 against the trial court order summoning them in the case.
The trial court had on June 26 last year summoned Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes, Dubey and Sam Pitroda to appear before it on August 7, 2014