Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi will appear before a Delhi court in connection with the National Herald case on December 19 but may not seek bail, sources said, though the party didn’t make any official confirmation.
The Congress is keeping its cards close to its chest on the future course of action after a Delhi court issued summonses to its top leadership and other leaders based on a complaint of alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the defunct National Herald newspaper.
Party strategists on Wednesday maintained that the Gandhis will not apply for bail on Saturday and a decision on whether to seek exemption from future court appearances in the case may be taken that day itself.
Under procedures, once an accused has been summoned, he or she has to appear before it and seek bail which the court may grant. If the accused does not apply for bail, the court can take him or her into judicial custody.
Senior leader and advocate Abhishek Singhvi, who represented the Gandhis in court, steered clear of questions whether they will apply for bail. “We cannot share our strategy. I cannot speak on it.
Several senior party leaders will accompany the Gandhis to court as a mark of solidarity.
Congress leaders insisted that the party will fight the issue legally as well as politically. The party is preparing for the leadership’s court appearance. A meeting of Congress legislature party leaders from all states has been called at the party headquarters ahead of the court hearing.
On the political front, the party accused the BJP-led government of playing vendetta politics — an issue that has disrupted Parliament.
The tone for the party’s aggression inside and outside Parliament was set by the Congress president as she invoked her mother-in-law and former Prime Minister, the late Indira Gandhi, to underscore that she is not afraid. “I am the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anyone. I am not disturbed,” she said.
For their part, son Rahul and other senior leaders sought to dispel suggestions that the party was trying to threaten the judiciary.
“I have full faith in the country’s legal system. Truth will come out,” he said.
The Congress maintains that Parliament disruptions have nothing to do with the National Herald case, but prolonged protests over allegations of the BJP trying to browbeat opposition parties are blocking the NDA government’s push to pass key reforms this winter session, especially the goods and services tax (GST) bill.
(With agency inputs)