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Court defers hearing in National Herald case

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sonia and rahul
New Delhi :  A court here Thursday fixed Dec 9 as the next date of hearing in a case against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi and others over acquisition of the National Herald newspaper.

Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha deferred the hearing after it was apprised that the Delhi High Court has put on hold a trial court’s summons issued against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others till Sep 3.

On June 26, the trial court issued summons to the Congress leaders for Aug 7 on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy alleging “cheating” in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), the publisher of the now defunct National Herald newspaper, by the Young Indian Private Ltd. (YIL), “a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38-percent stake”.

Swamy told the court Thursday that summons were put on hold for the six accused, but not for Sam Pitroda, former chairman of National Innovation Council (NIC). Swamy told the court Pitroda was served summons in his house in the US as he is staying there now.

Defence counsel Ramesh Gupta countered Swamy’s submission and said that summons have to be served with a proper legal procedure.

The court said it will consider on this issue later and kept the matter pending related to issue of summons against Pitroda.

Apart from the Gandhis, Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vohra, family friend Suman Dubey, and Oscar Fernandes have sought to quash the proceedings initiated against them by a trial court here.

The trial court in its order, while summoning the Gandhis and others, had said that YIL appeared to have been “created as a sham or a cloak to convert public money to personal use” or a special purpose vehicle to acquire control over assets worth Rs.2,000 crore of AJL.

Swamy alleged that AJL had received an interest-free loan of Rs.90.25 crore from the Congress and that the party transferred the debt to YIL for Rs.50 lakh.

At the time, AJL claimed that it could not repay the loan and agreed to transfer the company and its assets to YIL.

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