National Herald: Sonia, Rahul move SC to quash charges against them

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 04, 2016 12:07 IST
Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi (R) and vice-President Rahul Gandhi (L) walk as they arrive to attend the party's foundation day celebrations in New Delhi on December 28, 2015. The congress party celebrated its 131st foundation day during an event at its headquarters in the Indian capital. AFP PHOTO/Money SHARMA (AFP)

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, on Thursday moved the Supreme Court to quash charges against them in the National Herald case on Thursday.

Read more: AJL to relaunch National Herald newspaper, firm to be renamed

The two top leaders of the party, along with other senior leaders had last year appeared in the Patiala Court for a hearing in the case. Senior advocates Harin Raval and Vivek Tankha filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court on Thursday on behalf of the Gandhis.

Read more: National Herald: Sonia, Rahul may seek exemption from court appearances

According to sources, the Gandhis have challenged an earlier judgment of the Delhi high court and demanded quashing of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s complaint and the summons. The lawyers of the two leaders argued that the high court did not adopt the correct legal approach in dealing with their previous appeals.

The Gandhis have also argued that the allegations in the complaint (of Swami) did not merit a cheating case against them.

Read more: Court allows Swamy’s plea to summon documents in Herald case

The Congress leadership had turned the tables on the BJP over the case and made a major political mobilization in Delhi when in December the two leaders appeared before the Patiala house court. It was also for the first time that Sonia Gandhi had appeared in a court in connection to a complaint against her.

The complainant – Subramanian Swamy – has reportedly filed a caveat in the Supreme Court requesting it not to pass any order without hearing his arguments in the court.

The Congress leadership had maintained that there was nothing wrong in the party floating a non-profit company to acquire control over Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the holding company of National Herald.

Leaders like P Chidambaram had pointed out that the Congress party, over a period of time, lent money to AJL amounting to a total of Rs 90 crore. “The Congress is the lender and AJL is the borrower. The Congress creates a non-profit company, The Young Indian (TYI), and assigns the debt to it. So, instead of the Congress being the lender, the non-profit company becomes the lender. TYI asked AJL to convert its loans to equity. This happens all the time. So many banks have acquired assets in this process,” Chidambaram had said.

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