National Herald: Sonia, Rahul pleas hearing Nov 3

  • HT Correspondent (with inputs from Agencies), Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 01, 2014 15:23 IST

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday posted the plea of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders in a case relating to the acquisition of the National Herald daily for final hearing on November 3.

Congress leaders, including party treasurer Motilal Vora, general secretary Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey, had filed a petition in the high court on August 1, challenging a summons order that was issued to them by a trial court on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

Meanwhile, the stay granted by the HC against the criminal proceedings in a trial court in New Delhi will continue till the next date of hearing.

The summons were issued by a metropolitan magistrate in a criminal complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician Subramanian Swamy.

Apart from the Gandhis, the others who were issued summons on 26 June are former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Motilal Vora, ex-Union minister Oscar Fernandes, journalist and Gandhi family friend Suman Dubey and former technology policy adviser Sam Pitroda.

Justice VP Vaish had last month observed "the matter should be disposed of finally on October 1", adding that in the interest of justice, the matter should not be prolonged.

The accused face charges of criminal breach of trust, dishonest misappropriation of property, cheating and criminal conspiracy in dealings concerning the National Herald group of newspapers.

The Congress loaned Rs 90.25 crore to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the company that published National Herald and other newspapers, but instead of recovering it, the party assigned the loan to Young India, a firm in which the Gandhis are the majority shareholders, for a relatively small sum of Rs 50 lakh, Swamy alleged in the complaint.

As a result, Young India acquired 90% shares of AJL, which owned assets worth thousands of crores, according to Swamy, who alleged that the property was thus dishonestly misappropriated by the Gandhis for personal benefit and that they conspired to cheat the exchequer and committed criminal breach of trust.

The Gandhis, represented by senior lawyers and Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, have denied all the allegations.

(With inputs from Rocky Singh)

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