Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her sonRahul Gandhi and others were on Tuesday directed to appear in person on December 19 by a Delhi court which allowed their plea seeking exemption from personal appearance for the day in the National Herald case.
Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Harin Raval and Ramesh Gupta appeared for the Gandhis and other accused and moved separate pleas seeking exemption from personal apperance for their clients for today only.
The Delhi High Court had earlier rejected their pleas for quashing the summons against them and made scathing observations on their “questionable conduct” regarding how they took control of the publication.
“We told the court that the accused are extremely keen, ready and willing to appear before magistrate at the earliest possible date. Earliest possible date was given on our request. On December 19, all accused barring one who’s in US will certainly be present at 3 pm” Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
Singhvi termed the case political vendetta at its worst. “The ruling party (BJP) is using proxy litigation to target Congress leaders.”
Earlier, when asked whether it is a political vendetta, Sonia had said, “I leave it on you to judge. I am daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anything. Why should I be scared.”
“This has been filed directly by a BJP member, both the party he belongs to and himself have a long history of political and personal antagonism. We believe that the case has absolutely no legs to stand upon and we shall fight it within the confines of the law at every forum available to us and exercise every remedy available to us.
Justice Sunil Gaur had on Monday turned down their plea for exemption from personal appearance in the case in the trial court on Tuesday.
Along with the Gandhis, five other accused–Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd–had challenged the summons issued to them by a trial court on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy against them for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct daily.
The court had said that the Congress leaders need to explain what was the need to assign the “huge debt of Rs 90 crores” when this loan could have been repaid by AJL from its “sizeable assets” of Rs 2000 crore.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has filed a caveat in the Supreme Courtto pre-empt any ex-parte order on appeals likely to be filed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul.