National Herald case: Delhi HC reserves order on Congress leaders' plea

New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Monday reserved its order on pleas filed by Congress leaders against the trial court order summoning documents from Ministries of Finance and Corporate Affairs, other agencies and the balance sheet of the party for 2010-2011 in the National Herald case.

"Order reserved," Justice PS Teji said after the counsel appearing for petitioners concluded their rebuttal arguments in the matter.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi, party leaders Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) are accused in National Herald case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

Swamy has accused them of allegedly conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which Associated Journals Pvt Ltd (AJL) owed to the Congress party.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul. PTI

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul. PTI

All the accused have denied the allegations levelled against them by Swamy.

During the hearing today, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Fernandes, told the court that there were "no reasons or objects" in the application filed by Swamy in which he had sought summoning of these documents.

He argued that there was "no application of mind" by the trial judge while allowing the plea and the high court was entitled to reverse the order.

"This court is entitled to reverse the order. This order is fit for reversal," he said.

Senior advocate RS Cheema, who appeared for one of the petitioners, argued that the orders passed by trial court were "non-speaking" and hence cannot be sustained.

"Courts can summon the documents if they are relevant. These documents can be misutilised for other purposes. Do not permit this litigation to be a launch pad for other things," Cheema said while urging the court to set aside the orders passed by the trial court.

Swamy had earlier argued that the high court should dismiss these pleas seeking stay on the two trial court's decision, including the one summoning the 2010-11 balance sheet of the Indian National Congress (INC) in connection with the case.

Besides summoning the documents, the trial court had also allowed Swmay's application for summoning of balance sheet of 2010-2011 of AJL while observing that the documents of INC and AJL could not be referred to as "personal documents" of the accused.

Refuting the claims by Vora, Fernandes, Dubey, Pitroda and YI that they were neither heard nor summoned before passing any order, Swamy had claimed that "they have no locus in the issue".

Vora, Fernandes, Dubey, Pitroda and YI have challenged the trial court's 11 January and 11 March orders respectively.

The trial court had on 19 December, 2015 granted bail to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it in pursuance to the summons issued earlier. Pitroda, another accused, was granted bail later.

Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes (AICC General Secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned for the alleged offences under sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

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Updated Date: Apr 18, 2016 18:18:41 IST

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