In a blow to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, Delhi High Court today dismissed their pleas challenging summons issued to them in the National Herald case in which they have to appear before the trial court tomorrow.
“Petitions are dismissed,” Justice Sunil Gaur said in his judgement while also declining another of their plea for exemption from personal appearance in the lower court.
The Gandhis and the other five accused–Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd–will have to appear in the trial court tomorrow, before which the case will come up.
It also refused to extend the August 6, 2014 interim order by which the summons were stayed. “No,” Justice Gaur said in response to oral pleas by senior advocate Harin Raval, appearing for the accused, that either an exemption from personal appearance be granted or the August 6, 2014 order staying the summons be extended.
The court, in its judgement, has also questioned the need for extending interest-free loan to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) the publishers of National Herald. “Where was need to extend interest free loan,” it said.
The trial court had on June 26 last year summoned all the above accused to appear before it on August 7, 2014 on Swamy’s complaint. The Congress leaders had, thereafter, on July 30, 2014, moved the high court which had stayed the summons on August 6 last year.
Thereafter, on December 15, 2014, the court had stayed the summons till final disposal of the petitions. The summons were issued on a criminal complaint lodged by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct daily National Herald.