National Herald case: Relief for Sonia, Rahul, Delhi HC stays summons till August 13

In a relief to Congress president and vice president Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, the Delhi High Court stayed summons in the National Herald case till August 13.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: In a relief to Congress president and vice president Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, the Delhi High Court stayed their summons in the National Herald case till August 13.

This essentially means that both the Congress leaders will not have to appear in a Delhi Court tomorrow.

Now their appeal will be heard by Delhi HC.

Sonia Gandhi had yesterday opposed in the Delhi High Court the private criminal complaint against her and the summons issued by a trial court in the case saying a political party is within its right to "write-off" or "assign" a loan.

"The issuance of process in this case is shocking and out of order, to say the least, and no illegality can be found either on the facts or on the law," former Law Minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Congress president, had told a bench of Justice VK Vaish, as per PTI reports.
The trial court had issued summons to various Congress leaders on the complaint of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who has alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of the now-defunct daily National Herald by Young Indian (YI).

Sonia, Rahul, party treasurer Moti Lal Vora are among the directors of YI, who have been summoned.

Seeking setting aside of Swamy`s complaint, Gandhi had said the Associated Journals Limited (AJL), which had been publishing newspapers `National Herald` in English, "Navjivan" in Hindi and "Quami Awaz" in Urdu, had taken loans to the tune of Rs 90 crores from the Congress Party.

The loan, given to AJL, was assigned to YI by the Congress party and then a process of conversion of Rs 90 crores loan was taken by AJL which then issued fresh equities in favour of charitable firm YI.

Congress party for a monetary consideration of Rs 50 lakhs had decided to assign Rs 90 crores loan to YI, she maintained.

Citing various law and verdicts, Sibal had said that these are valid transactions and no illegality can be found.
"The Congress Party was well within its right to give the loan to AJL in view of the objects of AJL which included dissemination of the views of policy and principles of INC,” he had said, adding, “The INC was equally within its right to write-off the loan/assign the loan to YI and there was no breach or illegality. There is no illegality in extending support to a Section 25 company (charitable firm YI) by the INC.”

The trial court on June 26 had summoned Sonia, Rahul, Vora, party general secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda to appear before it on August 7.

Referring to trial court`s order in the case, Sibal had said that the basic ingredients of the offences have not been met.

"There may be allegations in the complaint but there was no evidence to support them," he had argued.

Dealing with the offence of dishonest misappropriation of property, he had maintained that the basic ingredients of the offence are that the property should belong to a person other than the accused and "the accused should wrongly appropriate or convert such property to his own use".

Meanwhile, referring to the offence of criminal breach of trust, the lawyer had said that a person should have been entrusted with property, or entrusted with dominion of property and "the person should dishonestly misappropriate or convert to his own use that property or dishonestly use or dispose of that property or wilfully suffer any other person to do so."

"Sadly, this is also not backed by documentary evidence," he told the court, adding that the basic elements of breach of trust and cheating are missing.

Meanwhile, Sonia in her plea, had also sought setting aside of the compliant saying it was "politically motivated and intended to wreak vengeance and unleash political vendetta" against her.

With PTI inputs