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Supreme Court refuses to quash criminal proceedings against Sonia, Rahul in National Herald case

Sonia and Rahul to face Trial
Sonia and Rahul to face Trial

February,12,2016: Expressing its keenness to appear “fair to all”, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to quash criminal proceedings against Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other Congress brass in the National Herald case, but expunged remarks made by the Delhi High Court pinning “criminal intent” on them even before the trial has started.

A bench of Justices J.S. Khehar and C. Nagappan also granted the accused Gandhis and Congress leaders exemption from personal appearance in the Magistrate court for future hearings.

Justice Khehar said their appearance would only create more “chaos” and cause more inconvenience than convenience.

The accused, who are out on bail in the case, were scheduled to appear before the trial court on February 20.

Personal exemption was granted despite objections raised by BJP leader and complainant Subramanian Swamy, who quoted the 2011 TGN Kumar versus State of Kerala Supreme Court ruling, which mandated that it is the exclusive prerogative of the magistrate to grant exemption to the accused from personal appearance.

“These are prominent persons Mr. Swamy… They will not run away. If they go to court, there will be chaos. What is the difference now? Either we will grant them exemption or the magistrate will do so on their application…” Justice Khehar said.

“It is a chaos they create…. I go to court alone and I don’t carry people with me to court,” Dr. Swamy said.

“Mr. Swamy is so powerful that he can go alone and still create chaos,” Kapil Sibal, who is appearing for the Gandhis and others, pitched in.

Mr. Sibal argued that the essential ingredient in the offences of cheating and criminal breach of trust – two allegations foisted against the accused in the case – is that only the aggrieved person has the locus standi to file a complaint in court.

“Here Swamy has not been allegedly deceived. There is not a whisper of a complaint from the millions of Congressmen about their leaders,” A.M. Singhvi, who is also appearing for the Gandhis and others, argued.

“I cannot be sent to trial without even a statement from a victim,” Mr. Sibal said.

“We will not like to say anything. Our limited call is to look into what the Delhi HC judge has said. Now the judge had said something. We are not happy with what the judge said. There may be a trial and the remarks of the judge has now prejudiced the trial,” Justice Khehar said.

The bench said it would do nothing to intervene with the current trial proceedings in the case and granted the accused side liberty to raise “all issues” troubling them in the case at the time of framing of charges post investigation.

Justice Khehar pointed out that even the Delhi High Court order had said that issues could be raised at the stage of framing charges before the trial court.

On December 7 last, the High Court’s Justice Sunil Gaur, in a detailed order, refused to quash summons issued to the accused by the trial court.

The High Court also went on to make caustic remarks on the alleged involvement of Ms. Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi and how the case had dragged the reputation of the “legendary” Congress party into the mud. The judge had further observed that there was evidence of criminal intent against the accused.

The High Court order led to the personal appearance of the accused in the trial court, which granted them unconditional bail.

National Herald Case

 

  • What – Subramanian Swamy, the then Janata Party president,knocked the court’s door raising questions over acquisition of a company that published the now-defunct National Herald newspaper to which Congress gave a loan of over Rs 90 crore.
  • Who – Dr. Swamy alleged that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had floated a Section 25 company called ‘Young Indian’, which acquired Associated Journals, founded by late Jawaharlal Nehru, that published the National Herald and Quami Awaz.
  • How – Dr. Swamy claimed it was illegal for Congress, a political party, to give loans for commercial purposes. Young Indian wrote off the loans due to Congress for a mere Rs 50 lakh and by a board resolution, the Associate Journals is sold by transfer of shares to Young Indian, which is not a newspaper or journal producing company.
  • Why – The deal, Dr. Swamy alleged, was to grab prized property like Herald House in Delhi and other properties of the Associated Journals in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Then – Rahul Gandhi threatened legal action against Dr. Swamy. Congress challenged Dr. Swamy to prove his allegations in a court of law. As Dr. Following Dr. Swamy’s plea, a Delhi court ordered the Gandhis to appear before it on August 7, which was challenged in High Court.
  • Now Sonia Gandhi, son Rahul Gandhi and others were granted bail. Hindu

Related News @ LatestLaws.com-

National Herald case

4.2.2016- National Herald Case- Congress Party decides to move Supreme Court to save Rahul-Sonia from Trial

Rahul-Sonia

8.12.2015- Not scared, I am Indira’s daughter-in-law, says Sonia; Jaitley quips, India not a banana republic, go and face the Court, Read HC order

sonia-rahul-l

7.12.2015- In big setback, Delhi High Court asks Sonia Gandhi, Rahul to appear before Magistrate as Accused

 

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