The Patiala House court in New Delhi on Saturday, Dec 19, 2015 granted them unconditional bail on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh filed the bail bond on behalf of Sonia, and her daughter Priyanka Vadra did the same for brother Rahul. The court will next hear the case on February 20, 2016.
Earlier, news report in The Telegraph quoting sources, said, “Rahul seems to have made up his mind not to seek bail and to ask the magistrate to send him to jail during the hearing in the National Herald case on December 19.”
Sonia, Motilal Vora, Suman Dubey and Oscar Fernandes will opt for bail, the report added.
What’s the National Herald case all about?
The lawyer and BJP member ‘Subramanian Swamy’ had filed a complaint before the trial court in 2012, alleging that Congress leaders were involved in cheating and breach of trust in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) by Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YIL), as assets worth crores of rupees had been transferred to YIL.
Swamy has alleged that YIL, which has Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi on its board of directors, had “taken over” over the assets of the inoperative print media outlet in a “malicious” manner to gain profit and assets.
Going by the current value of the properties of National Herald, the scam could involve money between Rs 1600 crores and Rs 5000 crores.
Apart from the Gandhis, Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, general secretary Oscar Fernandes, journalist Suman Dubey and technocrat Sam Pitroda were also named in the case.
Swamy has alleged that YIL had paid just Rs 50 lakh to obtain the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that AJL had owed to the Congress party, given earlier as a loan to start the newspaper.
According to documents, 76 per cent of the shareholding of YIL is with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, marking 38% share to each one while the remaining 24 percent vests in the others named in the case.
After the various appeals and court proceedings, the High Court has said that questions including reasons for the grant of loan to AJL, modus operandi of the transfer of the loan to YIL, and the related transactions would have to be examined minutely by the trial court. It has also dismissed the objections raised against Swamy’s involvement, stating that locus standi “cannot be restricted” in corruption cases.
When the National Herald case bumped into the news, it created a huge chaos among the Congress leaders quoting that it’s a political vendetta. But to frame the truth, the case was filed in the year 2012, so, in any case, it couldn’t be a vendetta, and court hearings are not based on the ruling party in any way.
Reacting for the first time since the Delhi High Court asked her and her son to appear before the trial court, Sonia Gandhi said, “I am Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law. I am not afraid of anyone, why should be I upset?”
Rahul Gandhi claimed, “This is one hundred percent political vendetta. This is pure political vendetta coming out of the PMO. It is their way of doing politics.”
“I have full faith in the legal system of this country,” he added.
Sonia and Rahul want to turn the tables on Modi, not realizing that neither the popular opinion nor the facts of the case, at least from what have so far come out, is on their side.
Swamy in a statement said that what all Sonia is saying is completely rubbish and doesn’t relate to the facts. They only want to politicize the issue, knowing the fact that law doesn’t come under the government.
Several BJP leaders questioned Sonia and Rahul that if they are demeaning the court’s order by calling it a political vendetta, aren’t they defaming the constitution?
Recently, Shanti Bhushan sparked the fire by saying that he will challenge the transfer of shares from Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), which ran the National Herald newspaper to Young Indian Limited, according to a report by The Times of India.
Bhushan, one of the founding members of the Aam Aadmi Party, reportedly said his father had bought more than 300 shares of AJL in 1938, which he had inherited. He has termed the transfer of shares from AJL to YIL as ‘wholly illegal’, as per The Times of India report.
“It is not a mere commercial transaction. It has wider ramifications. How a political party behaves is everyone’s concern. It is precisely an act of a political party which is under scanner here,” the High Court judge said.
The question was arising that is it going to be a jail or bail for the Gandhi family who ruled the country, India over decades?
The latest judgment announces that it’s a bail, and the next hearing will be on the February 20, 2016.
The National Herald saga deserves a deeper examination, which is possible only through a full-fledged trial.