A Delhi court Tuesday directed Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party vice president Rahul Gandhi and five others accused in the National Herald case to appear before it on December 19.
“Make sure all the accused appear on December 19. I am giving exemption from personal appearance only for today. Don’t come in the morning on December 19. You come at 3 pm,” Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen said after hearing brief submissions at the Patiala House Courts.
Watch video: No Relief For Sonia, Rahul In National Herald Case; Issue Paralyses Parliament
The direction came a day after the Delhi High Court dismissed appeals filed by the Gandhis and five others against summons to face trial and said their conduct in the National Herald case “smacks of criminality”.
The Gandhis and five others — Suman Dubey, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Sam Pitroda and Young Indian — had challenged the Delhi court summons on a complaint by BJP’s Subramanian Swamy against them for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct National Herald newspaper.
Earlier, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsel for the Gandhis, moved separate pleas before the metropolitan magistrate seeking exemption from personal appearance.
Subramanian Swamy to court:Gandhi’s informed about date of appearance in advance, this is no ground for personal exemption @IndianExpress
— KAUNAIN SHERIFF (@kaunain_s) December 8, 2015
“We are keen to appear before the court. The Delhi High Court order has just come yesterday afternoon. We seek exemption only for today. Give us a date of the choice of the court and at the convenience of the complainant,” Singhvi told the court.
Complainant Swamy told the court that Tuesday’s date had already been fixed by the court on the last date of hearing in September.
During the proceedings, the magistrate asked the lawyers if they had the copy of the Delhi High Court order passed on Monday.
At this point, Swamy placed a copy of the verdict before the court.
Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta told the court that accused Sam Pitroda was in the United States and he would try his best to ensure his presence in court on December 19. It was then that the court asked the lawyers to ensure that all accused appear before it on December 19.