Congress president Sonia Gandhi and six others, including party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who have been accused of alleged misappropriation of funds in the National Herald case, will not have to appear before a trial court on Thursday. The interim relief was granted by Delhi High Court on Wednesday which has fixed August 13 for further hearing in the matter.
“Renotify the matters on August 13. Till that time, the impugned order dated June 26, 2014 of the trial court against the accused shall remain stayed,” Justice VP Vaish ordered.
The trial court had summoned the Gandhis, along with Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vora, party general secretary Oscar Fernandes and directors of Young Indian Private Ltd (YI) — Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda — to appear before it on August 7 on a complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.
Swamy had alleged that there was cheating and misappropriation of funds in the transfer of a loan given by the Congress to the Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), which was transferred to Young Indian Private Ltd . He had also alleged that the assets of AJL were illegally transferred to YI by the stakeholders — Gandhis.
The accused, except Sam Pitroda, then approached the Delhi High Court against the trial court’s summons, and sought quashing of the proceedings initiated against them in the trial court.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who represented Sonia Gandhi and Rahul, respectively, opposed the trial court order on the ground that there was “no aggrieved person” with the locus standi to file any complaint in the case and added: “Cheating and misappropriation of funds are compoundable offences. As such, there must be an aggrieved victim who has filed the complaint and Subramanian Swamy could not have filed the complaint in the first place.”
Singhvi also presented a chart to the High Court to support his argument that the accused shareholders of YI had no ownership of the properties of AJL as nothing has been transferred to YI. “All the properties, including the building on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg here, are still with the AJL and have not been transferred to YI,” Singhvi argued.
On August 13, Subramanian Swamy and Delhi government will argue. .