National Herald case: HC dismisses pleas of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi against summons
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed the pleas of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi seeking to quash summons issued to them by a trial court on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's complaint in the National Herald case.
Justice Sunil Gaur also turned down their plea for exemption from personal appearance in the case in the trial court, where it is listed tomorrow.
Along with the Gandhis, five other accused--Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd--had challenged the summons issued to them by a trial court on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy against them for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct daily.
"After having considered the entire case in its proper perspective, this court finds no hesitation to put it on record that the modus operandi adopted by petitioners in taking control of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) via special purpose vehicle i.e. Young India Ltd (YIL), particularly, when the main persons in Congress Party, AJL and YIL are the same, evidences a criminal intent.
"Whether it is cheating, criminal misappropriation or criminal breach of trust is not required to be spelt out at this nascent stage.
"In any case, by no stretch of imagination, it can be said that no case for summoning petitioners as accused in the complaint in question is made out. Questionable conduct of petitioners needs to be properly examined at the charge stage to find out the truth and so, these criminal proceedings cannot be thwarted at this initial stage," the judge said in his 27-page order.
The judge was also of the view that "the gravity of the allegations levelled against petitioners (Sonia, Rahul and others) has a fraudulent flavour involving a national political party and so, serious imputations smacking of criminality levelled against petitioners need to be properly looked into".