New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the response of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on plea seeking to set aside trial court order allowing summoning of documents from Ministries of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Income Tax Department and other agencies in the National Herald case.
Justice Sunita Gupta also issued notice to Swamy seeking his reply on or before March 15 on the pleas which also sought staying operation of the trial court's January 11 order. "I am issuing notice to the respondent, but not staying the proceedings before the trial court," the judge said.
The petitions filed by AICC Treasurer Motilal Vora and Young India Ltd, through senior advocates R S Cheema and Rebecca John, said the trial court has not heard them and the order passed was an ex-parte order.
"Swamy has sought all documents but no specific period has been mentioned in his application before the trial court and still his plea was allowed," Cheema contended, adding that the January 11 trial court order must be quashed or set aside. Swamy's plea seeking summoning of documents from the Ministry of Urban Development, Delhi Development Authority and Registrar of Companies was also allowed by the trial court.
He had told the court that he needed these documents, which are in the custody of these ministries, for advancing arguments in the case. The trial court had on December 19, 2015, granted bail to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and three others Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey who had appeared in the court pursuant to summons issued earlier.
Sam Pitroda, another accused, was granted exemption from personal appearance for that day only on medical grounds.The case is based on a private criminal complaint lodged by Swamy against them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust. The documents which Swamy had sought pertained to Associated Journal Ltd (AJL).
The apex court on February 12 had exempted Sonia and Rahul Gandhi from personal appearance before trial court in the case.
It had, however, left it open for trial judge to seek their personal appearance if he thought it appropriate at any stage. The matter is scheduled to come up for hearing in the trial court on February 20.
Sonia Gandhi, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes (AICC General Secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned under sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B(criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
The trial court had on June 26, 2014 asked them to appear before it on August 7, 2014 but the order was stayed on August 6, 2014 by the Delhi High Court which on December 7 last year had vacated the stay by rejecting the plea to quash the complaint and the summons.
On December 15, 2014, the high court had further stayed the summons till final disposal of the petitions.
All the accused had challenged the summons issued to them by trial court on Swamy's complaint.