BJP leader Subramanian Swamy Monday told a Delhi court that acquisition of over 99 per cent shares of Associated Journals Ltd, publisher of National Herald newspaper, by Young Indian was not a property case but was a “corruption” matter.
Swamy, during his cross-examination by lawyers of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, both accused in the case, said that the Congress President held 35 per cent shares in YI when the firm took over AJL.
“It is incorrect to suggest that I have maliciously levelled false allegations regarding taking up possession of properties of AJL by YI and now I am trying to divert the issue,” the BJP leader testified.
While answering the queries by senior advocates R S Cheema and Ramesh Gupta, Swamy said, “The question of physical possession of the properties is for this case is irrelevant because this case is not for possession but for corruption.”
In response to a pointed query as to whether Gandhi’s had conspired to shut down the publication of newspapers for all times to come, Swamy said, “It is incorrect.”
He rather referred to the e-mail communication of Congress President with one scribe, who is also a witness in the case, on the issue of closure of publication of NH and its two regional newspapers.
“I never said that it (stopping the publication) was for all time for come but I relied on J Gopikrishnan, a witness who relied on email-sent by the office of accused number 2 (Rahul Gandhi), that they (AJL) have no intention of resuming the publication,” Swamy said.
Gandhis’ lawyers asked a total of 18 questions after which the court posted the matter for further hearing on Febraury 23 after the BJP leader said he had to join the Parliament proceedings.
Swamy, in the complaint, had accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh, through which the Young Indian (YI) Private Limited obtained the right to recover the Rs 90.25 crore that the Associate Journals Limited (AJL) owed to the Congress.
All the seven accused in the case — Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, and Congress leaders Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda and the YI — have denied the allegations levelled against them.
Besides the Gandhis, the complaint has also named Vora (the All India Congress Committee treasurer), Fernandes (then AICC general secretary), Dubey, Pitroda and YI as accused.
All the accused have denied the allegations levelled against them in the case.
Swamy, while recording his statement before the court as the main complainant in the case on September 17, 2018, had accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi of “cheating”, “criminal conspiracy” and other offences in the case.
The court had summoned the accused persons and YI on June 26, 2014, for alleged offences of misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust and cheating, read with a criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code.
On December 19, 2015, it had granted bail to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to summonses. Pitroda was also granted bail on February 20, 2016 when he had appeared in the court.