Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Will Courts ever hear the National Herald Case?

Updated: November 5, 2015 10:45 am

The lower court summoned Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the criminal case filed by Subramaniam Swamy charging them with misappropriation and a few serious offences quite a few months ago. The battery of lawyers led by Kapil Sibal moved the High Court for quashing the case and stay of the summons. The problem, which the Hon’ble Judge hearing the case had, was that the lower court had written on 19 pages the reason for summoning them. It was almost a judgement indicting them.

The judge first gave long dates which Sonia’s lawyers requested for. This went on for a few months after which the judge recused himself. For the general people it was playing with law, so that the Gandhis could avoid a personal appearance as accused. Almost similar game was played after another judge started considering the petition. The present judge seems to play by the rules. He refused to give any more dates and fixed hearing on day to day basis. But Gandhis’ lawyers have many tricks up their sleeves. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi moved the Delhi High Court seeking the transfer of hearing in the National Herald case to the judge who had earlier heard the arguments in the matter at length. In their applications, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and five others said that Justice Sunil Gaur has heard the matter on several dates, so this case be remanded back to him.

The case was marked to Justice PS Teji for hearing after the roaster was changed earlier this month. The court had asked them to advance the arguments and fixed the matter for October 15.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sonia Gandhi, on October 10 had told Justice Teji that it would be better if the case is sent back to the previous bench. The court, however, was not inclined to entertain Sibal’s oral request and had said that as the matter has been marked to him, now he will hear the matter further.

The contention was made during hearing of a bunch of pleas, filed by the Gandhis and five others, challenging the summons issued against them on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy alleging cheating and breach of trust in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) by Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YIL), in which the accused party leaders are shareholders.

The trial court had on June 26 last year summoned Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vora, general secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda to appear before it on August 7, 2014 on the complaint by Swamy. The Congress leaders had, thereafter, on July 30, 2014, moved the High Court which had stayed the summons on August 6 last year. It seems 2016 might become a nightmare year for the Gandhis.

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