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National Herald case: Court seeks balance sheet of Congress party

Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen, after hearing the submissions, posted the matter for April 8 for the next hearing on the plea of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:March 21, 2016, 6:49 PM IST
National Herald case: Court seeks balance sheet of Congress party
File image of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi (Getty Images)

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Monday directed the Congress party to submit its balance sheet for the year 2010-2011 in compliance with its order in the National Herald case in which Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and five others are accused.

The court's direction came after the counsel appearing for Indian National Congress (INC) informed it that the party needed time to follow the March 11 order by which the documents were sought.

Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen, after hearing the submissions, posted the matter for April 8 for the next hearing on the plea of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

The counsel, Badar Mahmood, said the court summons were received only on March 19 and added that there was lack of clarity about the year of which the documents pertain to. "Summons were not clear as to whether it was for 2010, 2011 or for both," the counsel said.

A Congress office peon, who appeared in the court, also said that no office-bearer of the party office was present on Saturday to give the documents.

In its March 11 order, the court had also summoned the balance sheet of 2010-2011 of Associated Journals Pvt Ltd (AJL), observing that these documents of INC and AJL could not be referred as "personal documents" of the accused.

However, the counsel appearing for AJL, on Monday submitted before the court that the documents summoned by the court are already in the court records which were verified by the officials from the Registrar of Companies who were summoned thrice during the recording of pre-summoning evidence.

"We are taken for a ride. The documents summoned are already on the record of the court. Its only for the purpose of publicity that the complainant has filed this complaint as he has been 'tweeting' about this case from his social networking account Twitter," senior advocate RS Cheema, appearing for AJL said, while showing some of Swamy's tweets to the court.

Swamy had accused Sonia, Rahul and others of allegedly conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the AJL had owed to the Congress party.

In his present plea, Swamy had sought summoning of balance sheet, receipts and payments accounts, income and expenditure statements for the year 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 of INC and AJL.

During the hearing, however, Swamy said that Registrar of Company officials were summoned earlier just to verify who were the directors in AJL during the relevant period and not for the purpose of verifying the balance sheets.

In his plea, Swamy had told the court that these records were necessary to establish the method adopted by the accused for purpose of extending loans to acquire AJL, through Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI).

Swamy had initially sought summoning of documents of Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) also, but did not press for it during the arguments later.

On Swamy's plea, the court had on June 26, 2014, summoned Sonia Gandhi, Rahul, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda as accused in the case besides YI.

The court had on December 19, 2015, granted bail to Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to the summons issued earlier. Pitroda was granted bail on February 20 when he had appeared in the court.

Sonia, Rahul, Vora (AICC Treasurer), Fernandes (AICC General Secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned for alleged offences under section 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

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