National Herald case: Delhi HC to resume hearing today

In what is likely to be a crucial day for the Congress party, the Delhi High Court will on Wednesday resume hearing in National Herald case in which Sonia Gandhi, her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi and some others are accused of cheating and misappropriation of funds.

Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava

New Delhi: In what is likely to be a crucial day for the Congress party, the Delhi High Court will on Wednesday resume hearing in National Herald case in which Sonia Gandhi, her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi and some others are accused of cheating and misappropriation of funds.

The High Court had on August 6 stayed criminal proceedings against Congress president, her son and other Congress leaders in connection with the case filed by senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

In his petition, the senior BJP leader had alleged that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul had misappropriated property worth Rs 2000 crore of National Herald through a company called Young Indian. According to Swamy, both Sonia and Rahul owned 38 percent each of the total stake of Young Indian.

"Re-notify the matters on August 13. Till that time, the impugned order dated June 26, 2014 of the trial court against the accused shall remain stayed," Justice VP Vaish had said.

Sonia and Rahul had challenged the summons issued to them by the trial court in Delhi Hight Court which stayed criminal proceedings against them till next hearing on August 13.

The stay had come as a big relief to Sonia, Rahul and others including Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, General Secretary Oscar Fernandes, Sam Pitroda and Suman Dubey who were asked to appear before the trial court.

On August 7, Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha postponed the matter after the counsel appearing for Sonia Gandhi and others informed the court that Delhi High Court had stayed the criminal proceedings pending before the trial court till August 13.
The trial court then deferred hearing in the case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the matter pertaining to acquisition of National Herald daily till August 28.

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

The trial court had on June 26 issued summons to the Congress leaders asking them to depose before it on August 7 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".
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.

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