National Herald case: Relief for Congress as Delhi court dismisses Subramanian Swamy's plea

Granting major relief to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul in the National Herald case, Patiala House Court has dismissed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's plea seeking certain documents from the Congress party and Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the holding company of the Congress party mouthpiece.

Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen rejected Swamy's application while giving him the last opportunity to submit the list of complainant witnesses in the case.  The court has now put up the matter on February 10 for
pre-charge proceedings.

During the hearing on Monday, the counsel appearing for the accused told the court that Swamy was seeking a "fishing and roving enquiry" in the case by asking for the documents from the party and the AJL as he wanted to make out a "new case" against them.

 National Herald case: Relief for Congress as Delhi court dismisses Subramanian Swamys plea

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Swamy, however, termed the allegation as baseless and said his demand was legitimate. In the present application, Swamy has sought documents relating to a loan given by the Congress to the AJL, the holding firm of the National Herald, saying these were necessary for the purpose of trial.

In a case that dates back to 2012, Swamy had filed a complaint alleging misappropriation of funds in the acquisition of Associate Journals Ltd by Young Indian Pvt Ltd., a company owned by Congress leaders, including Sonia and Rahul Gandhi both of whom hold 38 percent shares each.

Swamy had sought documents relating to a loan given by the Congress to the AJL, the holding firm of the National Herald, saying these were necessary for the purpose of trial.

Swamy has also sought certain documents from the Registrar of Companies (ROC) which were filed by the AJL and papers from the Department of Income Tax (DoT) in relation to income tax returns filed by AJL.

The documents sought from the AJL included "authorisation by the members of the AJL to borrow money in excess of its paid-up capital and free reserve of AJL, relevant extracts from the books of accounts of the AJL during the period of loan and documents by which the loan was converted into shares in the books of AJL."

On Swamy's plea, the trial court in its January 11 and March 11 orders had sought documents from Ministries of Finance and Urban Development, Department of Corporate Affairs and Income Tax Department and 2010-11 balance sheet of the Congress party in the case, which were submitted by the INC and AJL on 8 April.

However on 12 July, Delhi High Court had set aside both the orders of the trial court saying they were passed in a "casual manner" and "without application of mind". Swamy then filed a fresh application before the trial court seeking summoning of certain documents while the Congress leaders and AJL sought the return of documents including its balance sheet, which had been submitted in the court.

The court had on 26 June, 2014, summoned Sonia, Rahul, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda as accused in the case besides YI.

It had on 19 December, 2015, granted bail to Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to summons. Pitroda was granted bail on 20 February when he had appeared in the court.

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

Swamy had accused the Gandhis and other Congress leaders of allegedly conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh by which Young India obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which AJL owed to the Congress party. All accused have denied the allegations.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Dec 26, 2016 17:09:03 IST