In a blow to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, the Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed their pleas against summoning them in the National Herald case.
The development means both Sonia and Rahul will now have to appear before the trial court in connection with the case.
Reserving its verdict on the pleas last week, the court had on Friday said that the Congress party could have written off the loan of Rs 90.25 crore owed to it by the publishers of National Herald, instead of assigning it to a charitable company in which some of its leaders are directors.
Justice Sunil Gaur had made the observation while reserving judgement on the pleas of the Congress president and the vice president and four others against a trial court order summoning them on a cheating and breach of trust complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.
In response, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Gandhis, had said that the loan was assigned to “clean the balance sheets of AJL” and to revive the company so that it can borrow money from the banks and run on its own.
The party had loaned Rs 90.25 crore to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publisher of National Herald, and on December 28, 2010 it had assigned this debt to Young Indian Ltd (YIL), the charitable company, for Rs 50 lakh, which, according to Swamy, amounted to breach of trust and cheating.
On his complaint, the trial court had issued summons to Sonia, her son Rahul and five others – Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vora, general secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and YIL.
Swamy had told the court that the loan was “illegally” given to AJL and its shareholding was “fraudulently obtained” by YIL in order to misappropriate the property of the publication.