Relieved with the bail granted in the National Herald case, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday asserted that the NDA led-Central Government is using the central agencies in attacking the grand old party in a wrong manner.
“Today, I appeared with a clean heart in the court like any other law-abiding person. The laws of the country are applicable to all without any difference and discrimination. I don’t have any doubt that truth will eventually come out,” Sonia told reporters after the court hearing, where she was flanked by several senior party leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“The present government at the Centre is trying to intentionally target its opposition and for that they are making the wrong use of the central agencies. But we are not going to be afraid by them. We will continue our fight against the BJP. We will keep fighting for the poor and downtrodden,” she added.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, further addressing the press conference, said he will not let Prime Minister Narendra Modi achieve his dream of a `Congress Mukt Bharat`, especially when he was falsely accusing him and the Opposition of things that they had not done.
“Modiji Congress Mukt bharat chahte hain, hone nahin denge,” Gandhi told the media here.” I respect the laws, but Modi ji is falsely accusing us. He thinks that the opposition will bow down. I want to tell the people of this country that myself and the Congress party will never bow down. We will fight for the rights of poor and will never back down,” he added.
Earlier, the Patiala House court granted unconditional bail to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took surety for Rahul Gandhi and AK Antony took surety for Sonia Gandhi. Ajay Maken took surety for Motilal Vora, Mallikarjun Kharge took surety for Suman Dubey and Ghulam Nabi Azad took surety for Oscar Fernandes.
The court will next hear the case on February 20.
Subramanian Swamy also demanded bailable warrant against Sam Pitroda for non appearance and also opposed bail for the Gandhis.
The Gandhis along with the other accused in the National Herald case appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen in response to summons issued against them. They have been summoned by the trial court on prima facie charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust and dishonest misappropriation of property under relevant sections of the law.
Congress MLA VS Rathore however represented Sam Pitroda in the court today. Pitroda is unwell and undergoing treatment in the United States.
The National Herald newspaper was closely associated with India’s freedom struggle and the Indian National Congress till 2008. In January 2008, discussions about its closure began. On 1 April 2008, the paper’s editorial announced that it was temporarily suspending operations. Before its closure, the paper was being run by Associated Journals Limited (AJL).
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed the case in a local court in 2012. The trial court then issued summons to the two leaders among others in June 2014, but they approached the Delhi High Court seeking a stay. On Monday this week, the high court refused to stay the summons, and asked all of the accused to appear for a hearing on December 19.
The accused face allegations that they illegally acquired property worth Rs 5,000 crore belonging to the National Herald newspaper.