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National Herald case: Relief for Gandhis as Delhi court dismisses Subramanian Swamy’s plea

In some reprieve for the Congress party and its post holders in the National Herald case, a Delhi court has dismissed BJP lawmaker Subramanian Swamy’s petition asking for its account books.

The court set the next date of hearing on Feb 10, when Swamy will submit a list of witnesses. Swamy had earlier sought documents and ledger books maintained by the Congress party and Associated Journals Limited.

Swamy in his petition had alleged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi got hold of Associated Journals through ‘dishonest means’ which pertains to criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust.

However the defence counsel, appearing for Gandhi, had said Swami filed a complaint in July 2013 which has no reference regarding the loan borrowed from the Congress.

During the hearing on Monday, the counsel appearing for the accused told the court that Swamy was seeking a “fishing and roving enquiry” in the case by asking for the documents from the party and the AJL as he wanted to make out a “new case” against them.

Swamy, however, termed the allegation as baseless and said his demand was legitimate. In the present application, Swamy has sought documents relating to a loan given by the Congress to the AJL, the holding firm of the National Herald, saying these were necessary for the purpose of trial.

The counsel also said that neither did Swamy make the Congress an accused in the case, nor did he allege that office bearers were not authorized to give loans. Swamy had refuted the claim.

“They have been saying that I don’t have a case, how can that be when the court has issued summons for them. So, they are buying time and delaying, but they will not escape.”
Swamy further alleged that he revealed correspondence between Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru where the former alleged that Nehru indulged in corrupt practices by collecting money for the National Herald by giving government contracts to “undesirable parties”.

“The National Herald is being used by the Nehru family to collect funds and aggrandise them. I wanted to know whether Sonia and Rahul Gandhi got hold of Associated Journals limited by honest means or dishonest means, My allegation is that they acquired (it) through dishonest means which is criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust,” he said.

The newspaper was set up in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister and Rahul Gandhi’s great-grandfather. It shut down in 2008 after struggling for decades with mismanagement and poor earnings.

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