Gandhis get bail
After a 10-minute hearing, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul were on Saturday granted unconditional bail in the high-voltage National Herald case by a local court where they appeared along with a phalanx of top party leaders.
National Herald case
New Delhi: After a 10-minute hearing, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul were on Saturday granted unconditional bail in the high-voltage National Herald case by a local court where they appeared along with a phalanx of top party leaders.
Facing a private criminal complaint lodged by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the transfer of shares of the defunct party newspaper Herald to a newly-created company, the two Gandhis, accompanied by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh besides Priyanka Gandhi appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen at 2.50pm.
The party's legal eagles Kapil Sibal, Ashwini Kumar, both former Union Law Ministers, and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, as also top Congress leaders such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, A K Antony, Shiela Dikshit, Ambika Soni and Meira Kumar were at hand. Sonia, Rahul and three other accused in the case --Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey--sought bail which was granted after they furnished personal bond of Rs 50,000 and one surety each.
One of the accused Sam Pitroda was not present as he was stated to be unwell. Swamy pressed the court to impose conditions on the foreign travel of the accused, which was not accepted by the court. He said later that he had not opposed the bail but had told the court that conditions should be imposed on the Gandhis' travel abroad since they "were in the habit of running away from the country".
The magistrate fixed February 20 as the next date of hearing and the proceedings were over within minutes after which the Gandhis came out smiling. "The accused are reputed persons having deep political grassroots and there is no apprehension that they will flee," the Magistrate noted while granting them bail on furnishing personal bond of Rs 50,000 each and one surety. While Antony gave surety to Sonia, Priyanka stood surety for her brother.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who appeared as the counsel of the Gandhis, told reporters outside Patiala House Court. "Swamy will present evidence on February 20 and then we will argue on it," Sibal added.
Both Sonia and Rahul addressed the media at party headquarters but refused to take questions from reporters.
“I have no doubt that truth will come out. We are aware of our political opponents and their attack on us. They have never been able to remove us from their path and now the government is using central agencies to tarnish us. We will continue our fight to uphold Congress' values and fight for poor," Sonia Gandhi said.
“I respect the law. Modi ji is levelling false allegations against me and Congress will not bend in front of such false allegations. We are not going to back off even an inch. Our fight will continue," said Rahul. "Modi ji Congress mukt Bharat chahte hain, Congress mukt Bharat kabhi nahi hoga (Modiji wants a Congress-free India. This will never happen," he said.
19 Nov 2019 2:26 PM GMT