HC rejects Sonia, Rahul plea against summons

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
The Delhi High Court today refused to quash the trial court proceedings against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, alleging criminal misappropriation of National Herald’s assets.
The Gandhis will have to appear in the trial court tomorrow unless they manage to obtain a stay from the Supreme Court. “The criminal proceedings cannot be thwarted at this initial stage... By no stretch of imagination, it can be said that no case for summoning the petitioners as accused in the complaint in question is made out,” Justice Sunil Gaur said in his judgment while dismissing their plea against the trial court summons to them.
The court said it was of the view that the gravity of the allegations “has a fraudulent flavour involving a national political party and so serious imputations smacking of criminality levelled against the petitioners need to be properly looked into.”
The objections raised by the Gandhis could be considered by the trial court at the stage of framing charges, the HC said. The High Court also rejected similar pleas by Motilal Vora, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda. The Gandhis had pleaded that they could in no way have benefitted from Young Indian Ltd (YIL) acquiring majority shareholdings of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the holding company of Herald publications, including Navjivan in Hindi and Quami Awaz in Urdu.
YIL, in which the Gandhis and other Congress leaders were directors, was a Section 25 company, akin to a society, and as such its shareholders did not get any dividend, salary or other benefits, their advocates had contended.
AJL’s properties in Delhi, Mumbai, Patna and Panchkula were under government leases and could not be disposed of.