Free Press Journal

Congress to challenge Delhi HC upholding summons to Sonia, Rahul



New Delhi: With the Delhi High Court refusing to quash a lower court’s summons to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case, thereby declining to grant them exemption from personal appearance before the trial court, the Congress Party on Monday said they would challenge the decision.

“We intend to not only challenge it on all legal recourses available at the appropriate forum — which I am not going into detail as the matter is sub judice — and we intend to seek a continuation of the exemption and stay, which has been continued for over a year when the matter was pending in the high court,” said Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is also a renowned advocate.

On 26 June, the trial court had issued summons to the Congress leaders on Swamy’s complaint. Swamy has complained about “cheating” and “breach of trusts” in the acquisition of Associated Journals Limited — the publisher of National Herald — by a company called Young Indian Limited, in which the Gandhis reportedly hold shares.

Divulging the Congress’ stand Singhvi said, “All the assets of National Herald, including the newspaper, remain unchanged. It remained with the Associated Journals. However, the owner of Associated Journal changed from the Congress Party to a Section 25 company called Young India.

“The controllers of the Congress Party would be president, vice-president, office bearers etc, while the trustees of the controllers of the Section 25 Company would be the same. So, how does that become a cheating case we fail to understand, and which is the challenge we are going to mount, which is the challenge which led to a stay for over one year.”

He further contended, “Young India, which is the person that now controls the share holdings of the Associated Journals, which in turn controls National Herald, which is a Section 25 Company, and under the law, a Section 25 Company can distribute no perks, no dividends, no benefits to its directors or share holders of any kind.

“Not a single person of the Congress Party or Section 25 Company Young India has even complained of cheating and no members claimed to have been cheated, but a person with no locus standi Subramanian Swamy, who himself is not being cheated, alleged that the offence of cheating has occurred. So, we will be raising the issue of locus standi in a big way.”

Meanwhile, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has filed a caveat before the Supreme Court (SC), urging the apex court not to pass any order without hearing him.

Justice Sunil Gaur dismissed the Gandhis’ pleas, which means they will have to appear before the trial court in the case.

Apart from the Gandhis, the court also dismissed the pleas of Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, family friend Suman Dubey and party leader Oscar Fernandes, who had moved the high court for a quashing of summons to them by a trial court.