A Delhi court fixed Aug 28 as next date of hearing in a case against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi and others over acquisition of the National Herald newspaper.
Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha issued fresh summons to Sam Pitroda – former chairman of National Innovation Council (NIC) – after she was informed that summons were not served to him.
The court fixed next date of hearing after it was apprised that the Delhi High Court Wednesday put on hold a trial court’s summons issued against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others.
The Delhi High Court has suspended the trial court order till Aug 13, when it will hear arguments in the bunch of petitions filed by the Congress leaders challenging the lower court order.
Apart from the Gandhis, Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vohra, family friend Suman Dubey, and Oscar Fernandes have sought to quash the proceedings initiated against them by a trial court here.
On June 26, the trial court issued summons to the Congress leaders for Aug 7 on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy alleging “cheating” in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), the publisher of the now defunct National Herald newspaper, by the Young Indian Private Ltd. (YIL), “a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38-percent stake”.
Filing the plea, the Congress leaders said Swamy was a political opponent and the present criminal proceedings were initiated only with an intent to secure an oblique political objective.
The trial court in its order, while summoning the Gandhis and others, had said that YIL appeared to have been “created as a sham or a cloak to convert public money to personal use” or a special purpose vehicle to acquire control over assets worth Rs.2,000 crore of AJL.
Swamy alleged that AJL had received an interest-free loan of Rs.90.25 crore from the Congress and that the party transferred the debt to YIL for Rs.50 lakh.
At the time, AJL, which had Vora as its chairman, claimed that it could not repay the loan and agreed to transfer the company and its assets to YIL.