Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court against the summons issued to them for allegedly cheating and misappropriating funds of a company that used to publish the now defunct National Herald newspaper.
On June 26, the trial court had issued summons to the Gandhis and four others including party treasurer Moti Lal Vora, general secretary Oscar Fernandes and Young Indian Private Ltd (a firm in which the Gandhis have a stake) directors Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda, asking them to appear before it Aug 7.
Vora also approached the high court along with the Gandhis, who each own a 38 percent stake in Yong Indian Pvt Ltd., seeking quashing of summoning orders of trial court and complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanium Swamy.
Filing the plea, the Congress leaders said that Swamy is a political opponent and present criminal proceedings have been initiated only with intent to secure an oblique political objective.
“The complainant (Swamy) has no connection whatsoever with the issue at hand. The criminal proceedings are therefore manifestly attended with malafide and the proceeding is maliciously instituted only with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the petitioners amongst others for narrow political objectives,” said the plea.
The trial court in its order had said that Young Indian Pvt.Ltd. 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 Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the publisher of the National Herald.
Swamy had 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 YI for Rs.50 lakh.
At the time, AJL, which had Moti Lal Vora as its chairman, claimed that it could not repay the loan and agreed to transfer the company and its assets to YI.
The trial court had said that the complainant had established a prime facie case of dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy.
The summons were also served on Young India.