3:54 am - Tuesday November 10, 2015

Herald case: Hearing against Sonia, Rahul on Dec 9

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A Delhi court on Thursday fixed December 9 for hearing the complaint case, in which it had issued summons against Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others, on the issue of acquisition of National Herald daily.

Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha postponed the matter after the counsel appearing for Ms. Sonia Gandhi and others informed the court that Delhi High Court had stayed the criminal proceedings pending before the trial court till September 3.

The complaint case in the matter was filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

During the hearing, Mr. Swamy informed the court that he had served the summon issued against accused Sam Pitroda, who according to him is presently residing in the USA.

He also told the court that the High Court had stayed the proceedings before the trial court for other accused and not for Mr. Pitroda.

“The stay is for other accused and not for Pitroda. I have served the summon to him,” he told the court.

Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, who appeared for Ms. Sonia, Mr. Rahul and others, countered Mr. Swamy’s submissions saying the summon has to be served through the Ministry of Home Affairs.

During the hearing, the court asked Mr. Swamy, “Is there any other way to serve the summon?”

It, however, said that it will hear the arguments on this aspect on the next date of hearing.

Mr. Swamy had earlier requested the court to hand over the summons issued against Mr. Pitroda to him so that he could serve it on him.

In a reprieve for Ms. Sonia, Mr. Rahul and others, the High Court had earlier stayed the criminal proceedings pending before the trial court against them.

The Congress leaders have challenged the lower court’s summoning orders against them on a complaint of Swamy alleging cheating and misappropriation of funds in the acquisition of the daily by Young Indian (YI).

The stay from the High Court had come as a relief to Ms. Sonia, Mr. Rahul and others including Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vora, General Secretary Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey who were summoned as accused by the trial court.

Mr. Pitroda is the only accused who, so far, has not moved the High Court.

While summoning the accused in the case, the trial court had held that Mr. Swamy has established a prima facie case of cheating, misappropriation of funds and criminal breach of trust against them.

Mr. Swamy had accused Ms. Sonia and Mr. Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs. 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs. 90.25 crore which the Associated Journals Limited had owed to the Congress party.

The accused persons were summoned under sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property, 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

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