Herald case: Swamy seeks dismissal of plea against trial court

New Delhi: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy today asked Delhi High Court to dismiss the Congress leaders’ pleas seeking stay on the trial court’s decision summoning the 2010 -11 balance sheet of the Indian National Congress (INC) in connection with the National Herald case.

The submission by Swamy was made before Justice P S Teji who has been hearing the appeal filed by some of the accused against two orders of the trial court allowing summoning of documents from Ministries of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Income Tax Department and other agencies and also the balance sheet of INC for 2010-2011.

It had also allowed Swmay’s plea for summoning of balance sheet of 2010-2011 of Associated Journals Pvt Ltd (AJL), while observing that these documents of the INC and AJL could not be referred as “personal documents” of the accused.

Swamy submitted that the petitions against the January 11 magisterial court’s order summoning the documents in the case in which Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and others are accused, have “no merit”.

“There is not a single judgement (of any court) which says that they (all the accused in case) should be heard. Therefore this applications has no merit,” Swamy told the court.

Refuting the claims made by AICC General Secretary Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) that they were neither heard nor summoned before passing any order, Swamy said “they have no locus in the issue”.

The leader, who was arguing the case in person, opposed the contentions that the documents summoned by the trial court has no relevancy saying “they are vital relevant, so the accused persons are resisting to it”.

Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, appearing for Dubey, said the trial court’s March 11 order is totally “arbitrary”.

Senior advocate Rebecca John, who was defending YI, was also of the same view and said the trial court order “reflects non-application of mind” as the decision does not say that the documents are necessary.

Vora, Fernandes, Dubey, Pitroda and YI have challenged the trial court’s January 11 and March 11 orders respectively.

The case is based on a private criminal complaint lodged by Swamy, charging them with cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

All the accused have denied the allegations levelled against them by Swamy. The arguments remained inconclusive which will resume on April 18, when the counsel for the accused will make rebuttal to Swamy’s contentions.

Vora, Fernandes and Pitroda in their submissions on April 4 had said that neither was notice issued to them, nor were they summoned to contest the present application filed before the trial court judge on which an order was passed.

“It was an ex-parte order,” Sibal had said, adding that the application filed by Swamy should not have been allowed without hearing them.

He had further contended that the documents have “no relevancy” to this present case and the trial court judge has failed to explain in his order the “necessity or desirability” of these materials for the purposes of any “investigation”.

The trial court had passed the two orders on Swamy’s plea seeking summoning of documents. The trial court had on December 19 last year granted bail to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and three others — Vora, Fernandes and Dubey — who had appeared in the court pursuant to summons issued earlier. Pitroda, another accused, was granted bail later.

Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes (AICC General Secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned under sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy).

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