National Herald case | Subramanian Swamy delaying proceedings: Sonia, Rahul Gandhi tell court

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul made the submission before the court while opposing an application filed by Subramanian Swamy, seeking summoning of various documents and witnesses in the case.

Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused BJP MP Subramanian Swamy of delaying proceedings in the National Herald case, filed by him against them and others, by moving “totally vague” application.

The Gandhis made the submission before the court while opposing an application filed by Mr. Swamy, seeking summoning of various documents and witnesses in the case. The accused sought dismissal of the application saying it was not filed under relevant provisions.

“The present application is liable to be dismissed being totally vague; tainted by inordinate delay and dilatory in nature,” the counsel appearing for the accused said.

It was incumbent upon Mr. Swamy to file an application under the appropriate provision setting out the list of witnesses, along with other specific details, whom he intended to examine, the counsel said.

“The present application is also liable to be dismissed as the present application does not conform to the relevant provision,” the counsel told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sachin Gupta.

In a reply to the application, the accused said that while it was the legal right of Mr. Swamy to submit a list of witnesses sought to be summoned by him, the court was not conducting a “roving inquiry”. “The complainant has not submitted any list of witnesses even though the recording of pre-charge evidence had commenced on July 21, 2018 when the complainant himself stepped into the witness box. “Needless to say that the application has to satisfy the procedure prescribed by law,” the reply said.

It further said: “It is not clear as to whether the complainant is summoning documents to be proved in accordance with law or summoning witnesses to prove his case. This court is not conducting a roving inquiry and evidence can only be summoned to substantiate the allegation in the summoning order.” The court will further hear the matter on January 12.

The application moved by Swamy had sought summoning of Secretary General Sanjeev S Kalgaonar (Registry officer) Supreme Court of India, Rajnish Kumar Jha (Dy Land & Development officer), Saket Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax Circle-1 and a Congress official who issued a press statement on November 2, 2012. The case was scheduled for the cross examination of the complainant, Swamy, as a part of pre-charge evidence. Earlier, the court had asked both the parties to explore the solution for proceeding with the matter further in view of the COVID-19 situation.

Swamy, in a private criminal complaint, has accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh, through which the Young Indian (YI) Private Limited obtained the right to recover the Rs 90.25 crore the Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the publisher of National Herald newspaper, owed to the Congress.

All the seven accused in the case — Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, senior Congress leaders Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and Motilal Vora, who recently passed away, and the YI — had denied the allegations levelled against them.

The Gandhis, Vora, Fernandes, Dubey and Pitroda were accused of misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy. PTI UK SA

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