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Sonia, Rahul oppose Swamy’s list of witnesses in National Herald case

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New Delhi, March 25 : Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday opposed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking examination of Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi and others in the National Herald case.

The defence counsel told Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen that Swamy’s application contemplates to create a situation where a fishing and roving enquiry could be set into motion beyond the scope of the allegations made in the present complaint.

All the accused – the Gandhis, Congress party leaders Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, and Sam Pitroda and Young Indian – filed a common reply on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader’s plea seeking summoning of party General Secretary Dwivedi, Associated Journals’ Chief Financial Officer Ashok Gupta, Company Secretary Suresh Kumar Sharma and others as witnesses.

After Swamy sought more time to prepare his argument, the court listed the matter for April 22.

In the list, Swamy also wished to examine officials concerned from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Registrar of Companies, the Land and Development Office of Ministry of Urban Development and other officials.

Defence counsel Taruannum Cheema said Swamy’s application is designed as an attempt to make out a new case, which is impermissible in law.

“The complainant, through this application, is seeking to summon witnesses and call for documents without divulging their necessity and desirability on the basis of the allegations made by him in his complaint,” Cheema said in the application and pleaded the plea be dismissed with exemplary cost.

She said that witnesses sought to be summoned with documents have no connection with the allegations made in the complaint and the documents are beyond the scope of inquiry set-out in it.

“Moreover, no purpose or relevance of the documents, which the complainant seeks to summon by calling the witnesses enumerated in the instant application, has been disclosed.

“The entire exercise is for malafide purposes of travelling beyond the realm of the complaint and what was initially alleged in the complaint,” Cheema added.’

Swamy had filed a complaint about “cheating” in acquisition of AJL, which published the National Herald newspaper, by Young Indian, “a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38 per cent stake”.

He had accused the Gandhis of allegedly conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh, through which Young Indian obtained right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that the AJL owed to the Congress.

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