National Herald case: What are Sonia, Rahul’s legal options

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 19, 2015 13:14 IST
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has urged party leaders, office bearers and workers not to make a spectacle of her appearance along with Rahul Gandhi in a Delhi court in connection with the National Herald case on Saturday. (HT Photo)

Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi will appear in court on Saturday to defend themselves against allegations that they misused funds from National Herald, a newspaper once run by their family.

Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, general secretary Oscar Fernandes, journalist Suman Dubey and technocrat Sam Pitroda, too, have been summoned on a complaint of cheating and misappropriation of funds filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. What are the Gandhis’ legal options in the case? Here is a quick look:

Scenario 1

* According to the Criminal Procedure Code the two are likely to apply for bail.

* Legal experts say bail is usually granted to accused in cases similar to filed by Swamy.

* The court, while granting bail, can direct Sonia and Rahul to either furnish their personal bonds. The bond can be an assurance in writing that they will appear before the court and in case of a failure an amount fixed by the court can be forfeited. They could be asked to furnish a surety bond, for which a relative or friend has to submit a solvency proof. The court could ask them to fulfil both these conditions.

* The two can also seek personal exemption from future hearings.

Scenario 2

* The court can reject their bail application, but it has to give strong reasons to justify this. Bail is denied if there is an apprehension that the accused is likely to tamper with prosecution evidence, which is not the case here since it’s a private complaint.

* In case bail is not granted, the two would have to go to jail because the case against them is not a police case and therefore no custodial interrogation is required.

Scenario 3 (after court proceedings are over)

In case the Gandhis are released on bail, the court would issue a notice to Swamy to adduce his evidence and convince it to frame charges against the two Congress leaders who can cross-examine him during that process.

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