Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday said in Delhi High Court that the summons issued against her, Rahul Gandhi and five others in the National Herald case were “illegal”, claiming no one was cheated in the acquisition process.
A bench of Justice Sunil Gaur was told by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who represented the Congress chief, that not a single person was cheated during the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the publisher of the now defunct National Herald newspaper, by the Young Indian Private Ltd (YIL).
“There was no criminal breach of trust and no criminal conspiracy and neither any cheating took place and it is a simple company matter where YIL has taken over the AJL,” the counsel claimed and asked how was “the complainant, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, affected by this private transaction”.
Sibal also said that the trial court order summoning Gandhi was “full of illegality”.
He said that due to the emotional attachment with AJL as it was supported by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi during Quit India movement, the party helped it by issuing loans worth Rs 90 crore over a period of 50 years.
“A section 25 company named Young India was floated with an aim of charity and it is a no-profit-or-loss company and Congress party had decided to give Rs 90 crore to Young India as a loan,” Sibal said and asked “is there any provision in the law that prevents any political party from giving loans?”
Sibal said that YIL was only a shareholder and does not earn or get a single penny from the AJL.
Besides Sonia and Rahul, Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vora, General Secretary Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey had moved the High Court on July 30, 2014 against the trial court order summoning them in the case.
The trial court had on June 26 last year summoned Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes, Dubey and Sam Pitroda to appear before it on August 7, 2014 on a complaint by Swamy alleging cheating in the acquisition of AJL, the publisher of National Herald newspaper, by the YIL.
Later, the High Court on August 6 had stayed the summons issued against the Gandhis and others, and on December 15, 2014 had listed the matter to be heard on day-to-day basis.
The court on December 15, 2014 had also stayed the summons till final disposal of the petitions.