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National Herald case: Relief for Sonia Gandhi, Rahul as court dismisses Swamy’s petition seeking documents

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a relief for Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Delhi court on Monday dismissed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking documents and ledger books from the Congress Party and the Associated Journals Limited (AJL)Swamy in his petition had alleged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi got hold of Associated Journals through ‘dishonest means’ which pertains to criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust.However the defence counsel, appearing for Gandhi, had said Swami filed a complaint in July 2013 which has no reference regarding the loan borrowed from the Congress.Swamy had alleged that he revealed a correspondence between Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru where the former alleged that Nehru had indulged in corrupt practices by collecting money for National Herald by giving away government contracts to undesirable parties.”The National Herald is being used by the Nehru family to collect funds and aggrandise them. I wanted to know whether Sonia and Rahul Gandhi got hold of Associated journals limited by honest means or dishonest means, My allegations is that they acquired through dishonest means which is criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust,” he had said.Swamy had filed an application in 2012 accusing Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others associated with Congress of conspiring to cheat in a land deal.In his complaint, Swamy had alleged that the Congress granted an interest-free loan of Rs. 90.25 crore to the AJL, owner of the National Herald newspaper, established by Jawaharlal Nehru, which was either not repaid or repaid in case. This is in violation of Section 269T of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Congress-owned National Herald relaunches in digital format, promises to defy ‘swamys of vitriol’

Eight years after being shelved, the Congress-owned newspaper National Herald staged a comeback in digital format on the 127th birth anniversary of its founder and the nation’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The Associate Journals Ltd announced in a press release that the long-defunct newspaper, which his been mired in a legal battle, resumed publication on the digital medium from Monday, according to The Indian Express.

“In keeping with the changing times, the newspaper group resumes phased publication as a multi-media outlet with a strong digital presence. The digital website will follow the same editorial vision and principles as that of our Founder, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,” The Day After quoted AJL’s press release as saying.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also tweeted out his best wishes on the occasion, commenting on the symbolism of the day chosen for its relaunch.

Smeared in Spanish red against a white background, the website neatly stacks stories on its homepage with relevant images. The first look of the digital news journal is a refreshing change from its closely typeset print variant. It also features ten category pages like business, world, lifestyle etc. Barring small alignment issues in the two stacks of stories — namely ‘Top read’ and ‘Featured Stories’ — on the front and inner pages, the website sports a fairly neat interface for a start.

National Herald newspaper. IBNLiveNational Herald newspaper. IBNLive

National Herald newspaper. IBNLive

Symbolically, there couldn’t have been a better day for the relaunch of the Congress mouthpiece. However, the new look fails to wipe off the memory of the recent legal quagmire the newspaper has been mired into. The relaunch of the historic newspaper, founded in 1938 by Nehru himself, could not shed the shadow of the bitter legal battle it has been embroiled into.

Acknowledging and challenging this fact, the National Herald‘s newly appointed editor-in-chief Neelabh Mishra writes in the editorial welcome note, “Here we come again, defying swamys of vitriol. A vitriol that seeks to sicken our democracy and the harmonious soul of our nation.” In a not-so-subtle reference to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who had dragged the newspaper to court over charges of corruption, Mishra promises a website “with a free voice to uphold the values of our freedom struggle that our founder (Nehru) represented.”

From ‘love jihad’ to atrocities against Dalit to the FTII row, Mishra’s opening note captures all the soft spots of the current ruling dispensation. The edit piece also features a cartoon featuring Nehru himself, captioned “Don’t spare me Shankar.” The masthead carries the message — the publication hopefully aspires to maintain — “Freedom is in Peril, Defend it with All Your Might” in Nehru’s hand.

However, another right-leaning news website PGurusdubs the re-launch a “cover-up to beg-mercy from the court.” Recalling the alleged scam, the article states that AJL was taken over by YIL in 2010 even when the newspaper had already become defunct in 2008. The article alleges “covert means” in the acquisition. It further goes on to say that after Swamy “exposed the fraud” the Congress said that the takeover was meant to revive the newspaper, which the party has managed to do only now, six years after the takeover.

National Herald was launched in the heat of the Indian freedom struggle in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru, who later became Independent India’s first prime minister. AJL also published two other news dailies, Navjivan in Hindi and Qaumi Awaz in Urdu, which the party also seeks to relaunch, according to Live Mint. The newspaper, since then, served as the Congress party’s mouthpiece until 2008, when it folded up due to incurring losses.

However, in 2012, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed a complaint alleging misappropriation of funds in the acquisition of Associate Journals Ltd by Young Indian Pvt Ltd., a company owned by Congress leaders, including Sonia and Rahul Gandhi both of whom hold 38 percent shares each. Apart from the Gandhis, Congress leaders Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda are also accused in the case filed by Swamy.

Swamy has accused them of allegedly conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which Associated Journals Pvt Ltd (AJL) owed to the Congress.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 14:31 IST

Patiala House Court adjourns National Herald matter till December 9

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Patiala House Court on Friday adjourned the plea filed by Rajya Sabha MP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramaniam Swamy in a case related to the National Herald. The hearing on this matter will next take place on December 9.In August, the court issued notices to Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and five others on Swamy’s application seeking presentation of certain documents from Associated Journals Pvt. Ltd (AJL) and Indian National Congress (INC) in connection with the National Herald case.The court had on March 11 given its nod to Swamy’s plea, seeking the balance sheets of the INC and the AJL for the purpose of investigation in this case. In an application moved before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen, Swamy sought to summon the balance sheet, receipts, income and expenditure statements for assessment years 2010- 11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 of the INC, AJL and Young Indian Pvt. Ltd.Besides the Congress president and her son, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda are the other accused in this case. Swamy had accused Sonia, Rahul and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs. 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs. 90.25 crores which the AJL had owed to the Congress.

National Herald case: Sonia Gandhi alleges Subramanian Swamy seeking docs for ulterior motive

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accused BJP leader Subramanian Swamy of trying to create an “archive for ulterior motives” by seeking documents from the party and Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) in the National Herald case.The Congress top brass made the submission before a Delhi court, alleging that Swamy was seeking “fishing and roving enquiry” and wanted to make out a “new case” against them by taking recourse to a “fishing” probe in the matter and sought dismissal of his application seeking documents. Swamy told Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen that “I am not going to get National Herald if I win the case as all these are public properties.” He said he would file a detailed reply to the accused’s claim and sought time from the court, which posted the matter for further hearing on November 4.Appearing for the accused, senior advocates R S Cheema and Rebecca John told the court that “there is an effort to create an archive for ulterior motives. No fishing or roving enquiry should be allowed.”Swamy has accused the Gandhis and other party leaders, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda, of allegedly conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh by which Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which AJL owed to the Congress party. All accused have denied the allegations levelled against them.During arguments, the counsel representing the accused said there was no specific time period given in Swamy’s application for which the documents have been sought and several of them are already on record.The counsel submitted there was no list of witnesses filed by Swamy in the case who could certify the documents. The accused also opposed Swamy’s plea seeking summoning of Income Tax records from the Congress party and AJL, saying these entities were not accused and hence their records cannot and should not be disclosed for maintaining their confidentiality.The court had on August 27 issued notices to Gandhis and the other accused and the firm YI seeking their replies. In the written submission filed before the court, the accused have said that “the complainant (Swamy) has set up a particular case and it is his duty to prove the same. However, the application contemplates to create a situation where a ‘fishing and roving enquiry’ could be set into motion beyond the scope of averments made in the complaint and case set up by the complainant, in case the application is allowed.” “The complainant through this application is seeking to call for documents without divulging their necessity and desirability on the basis of the allegations made by him in his complaint. Thereby, the complainant seeks to access documents in an attempt to make out a new case,” they said, adding that “the endeavour of the complainant of not providing a list of witnesses also shows the malafide nature of the current application”.The Congress leaders’ reply also said that Swamy’s plea reflected “casualness” as some of the sought documents were already on record of this case and some were exhibited by witnesses during recording of pre-summoning evidence in case. “Swamy proceeded to move a wholly vague application demanding a series of documents to be summoned, without divulging even an iota of material as to the relevance and desirability of documents mentioned in application,” it said.It claimed that a witness was already called from ROC (Registrar of Companies) at the stage of recording pre- summoning evidences and “to now again summon documents from the ROC falls within the parameter of a fishing and roving enquiry, as the case has already been set up by complainant during the course of recording of pre-summoning evidence”. “The complainant has also sought documents from the Income Tax authorities regarding parties (Congress and AJL) which are not accused in the matter. In such a scenario, IT Act contains sections pertaining to confidentiality of IT records which prohibit disclosure of information of assesses,” it said.In his application, Swamy has sought documents relating to a loan given by Congress to AJL, the holding firm of the National Herald, saying these were necessary for the purposes of trial in the case.He has also sought some documents from ROC which were filed by AJL and papers from the IT Department in relation to the tax returns filed by AJL The documents sought from AJL include authorisation by its members “to borrow monies in excess of its paid-up capital and free reserve of AJL, relevant extracts from the books of accounts of AJL during the period of loan and documents by which the loan was converted into shares in the books of AJL.” Swamy has also sought summoning documents from “Congress party reflecting the loans given to AJL and documents of the party in the year in which the loan was written off,” besides summoning of documents filed by AJL with ROC and certain papers from the IT Department.The application was filed by Swamy after the Delhi High Court set aside trial court’s orders summoning documents and the balance sheet of the Congress party for 2010-2011, holding that they were passed without hearing the opposite side and the lower court orders violated the “principle of natural justice” and the right to life and liberty under the Constitution.In its July 12 verdict, the High Court had said the trial court orders of January 11 and March 11 seeking documents from Ministries of Finance and Urban Development, Department of Corporate Affairs and Income Tax Department and the summoning of certain documents pertaining to financial details of the party for 2010-2011, were “passed in a casual manner” and “without application of mind”. The high court’s order came on the pleas of Fernandes, Vora, Dubey, Pitroda and YI. Gandhis have not moved the high court against summoning of the documents and balance sheet.

After Modi’s criticism, Swamy promises to tweet less and focus on Ram Temple, National Herald

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, whose tweets have not gone down well with the party leadership, indicated on Friday that he will be less active on his favourite media platform for a week to “concentrate” on cases involving Ram Temple, National Herald and Aircel Maxis.He, however, also made a tweet over India’s GDP calculation that raised a few eyebrows. “If I apply Samuelson-Swamy Theory of Index Numbers to India’s GDP calculation or RBI interests rates, media will scream anti-party activity!” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A few hours later, he tweeted, “Now Ram Temple, NH, impleading in Swami Dayananda’s WP in SC, Aircel Maxis, CSK ban etc requires me to concentrate. So few tweets for 1 week.” He also took a dig at journalists.”I filed 2G Scam case, lawyers made a lot of money defending the crooks. Now because of my tweets, presstitutes raking in cash in trucks!!”One of his tweets was over the killing of a Hindu priest in Bangladesh. “It is painful to see daily murder of Hindu priests and activists in B’Desh. Hindu blood was shed to liberate these barbarians to create B’Desh,” he said.

Shiv Sena backs Subramanian Swamy, takes a dig at BJP leadership

The Shiv Sena on Friday said it appreciates the views of Subramanian Swamy and took a dig at BJP saying the party “cannot disown” his comments on the Chief Economic Advisor after having “used” him against the Gandhi family in the National Herald case.Sena’s support for Swamy comes amidst the exchange of words between him and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the former’s demand for sacking of Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have a feeling of attachment towards Swamy because he is famous for his stand on Hindutva and corruption. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi must be having nightmare of him. 2G spectrum and National Herald scams came to light because of his initiative, and, at that time the BJP used Swamy completely,” the Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.”Now if Swamy is speaking some truth in his own way, the BJP cannot disown his comments saying they are his personal opinions,” it said.Taking a dig at Jaitley, Sena said that while he might be “clever and competent”, a Finance minister cannot keep everybody happy at the same time.”The cracks that have developed due to corruption, inflation and black money cannot be easily plugged. We do not know what did Swamy get by attacking two people related to the economy (Raghuram Rajan and Arvind Subramanian). But, he has good knowledge in this field,” it said.Taking on the Swamy episode and the rumblings it created in the BJP, Sena said that now nobody should ask it why does it attack the the NDA government despite being in power and whether such a course suits a ruling alliance partner.

Will ensure work on Ram temple starts this year-end: Subramanian Swamy

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy on Friday said that one of his missions for the year is to ensure that work to build a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya begins by December. Swamy also said he will actively pursue the National Herald case that involved Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi among others. The case is currently pending before the courts. He was speaking at an event organised by Bhartiya Kisan Abhiyan here. The BJP leader further said that he will take up issues related to the farm sector next year.

Indian-origin man sentenced for assaulting women in New Zealand

An Indian-origin taxi driver in New Zealand has been sentenced to three months home detention for ‘indecent assault’ on two women in separate incidents, a media report said on Saturday. Sandeep Kumar, an Auckland taxi driver, twice groped women passengers in his cab. He has been sentenced to three months home detention so that he can support his wife and child, NZ Herald reported. Kumar previously pleaded guilty to two counts of ‘indecent assault’ after he preyed on intoxicated young women who had trusted him to drive them home, the report said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”People should be able to catch taxis without the threat of offending against them. It should be a safe way for young women to get home at night,” Judge Nevin Dawson said. “Your offending not only makes it difficult for young women to rely on taxi services but now also casts aspersions on all other taxi drivers; unfairly so,” the Judge said.The first incident took place in September 2014 when Kumar picked up a young woman from Ponsonby suburb of Auckland city. As she sat in the front passenger seat, the defendant began massaging her leg, the report said.”She was very scared at that point and did not want to confront you,” judge Dawson said. Kumar asked her if she wanted to go “somewhere else” but she declined and he dropped her home.Nine months later, he picked up another female partygoer from the upmarket suburb. She told police that Kumar touched her inappropriately and groped her in the taxi.Because Kumar was supporting his wife and 18-month-old child, Judge Dawson ordered he should be allowed to continue working in his new job at a catering company if that could be arranged, the report added. Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In this sentence, a person is confined in his or her residence by the authorities.

National Herald case: Delhi HC reserves order on Congress leaders’ plea

Delhi High Court on Monday reserved its order on pleas filed by Congress leaders against the trial court order summoning documents from Ministries of Finance and Corporate Affairs, other agencies and the balance sheet of the party for 2010-2011 in the National Herald case.”Order reserved,” Justice P S Teji said after the counsel appearing for petitioners concluded their rebuttal arguments in the matter.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi, party leaders Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) are accused in National Herald case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. Swamy has accused them of allegedly conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which Associated Journals Pvt Ltd (AJL) owed to the Congress party. All the accused have denied the allegations levelled against them by Swamy.During the hearing today, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Fernandes, told the court that there were “no reasons or objects” in the application filed by Swamy in which he had sought summoning of these documents. He argued that there was “no application of mind” by the trial judge while allowing the plea and the high court was entitled to reverse the order. “This court is entitled to reverse the order. This order is fit for reversal,” he said.Senior advocate RS Cheema, who appeared for one of the petitioners, argued that the orders passed by trial court were “non-speaking” and hence cannot be sustained.”Courts can summon the documents if they are relevant.These documents can be misutilised for other purposes. Do not permit this litigation to be a launch pad for other things,” Cheema said while urging the court to set aside the orders passed by the trial court.Swamy had earlier argued that the high court should dismiss these pleas seeking stay on the two trial court’s decision, including the one summoning the 2010-11 balance sheet of the Indian National Congress (INC) in connection with the case.

Congress attacking Vinod Tawde to divert attention from National Herald row: BJP

Congress’ claim that Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde held a director’s post in a private media company and the subsequent demand for his sacking over ‘conflict of interest’ were a ploy to divert attention from the National Herald issue, BJP said on Friday.”Allegations against Tawde made by former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan are an attempt to distract attention of people from the National Herald case,” BJP Mumbai president Ashish Shelar said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We can also demand that Sonia and Rahul Gandhi should resign as Congress President and Vice President respectively for alleged misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of the now-defunct daily National Herald,” he told PTI.”In that case, party funds were used and the (Gandhi) family benefited.”However, in (Tawde’s) case, the party gave the money as trade advance and there was no financial gain for the BJP or any leader,” Shelar said.Chavan had yesterday alleged that BJP had given party funds to a ‘for profit’ company to launch a newspaper ‘Tarun Bharat’, whose editor was later appointed to the state education body by the BJP-Shiv Sena government.”Tawde is director of a ‘for profit’ company and then he appoints a co-director in the company as the head of the Maharashtra State Marathi Encyclopedia Production Board (MSMEPB). This is a clear case of conflict of interest. Its not just immoral but also illegal and against the code of conduct prescribed for a minister,” Chavan said.He said that it was a serious matter as the person in question was “business partner of a minister”.”When you should be working for the government, he (Tawde) is actually working for a private company,” the Congress leader had alleged.Tawde, however, denied the allegations.”First of all, I am just an honorary director and according to company law, honorary director is different from a director who gets financial benefits from the company while a honorary director doesn’t.”I am surprised that a person like Chavan is making such statements. Whatever is being spoken about is fiction and the allegations are made through ignorance,” he said.There was nothing wrong in appointing Karambelkar as the head of the MSMEPB, Tawde said.”I know him since 1980, he is a well-known writer. His appointment has been done on the basis of that alone,” he said.Tawde also maintained that Rs 25 lakh given by BJP to Shree Ram Multimedia Vision Ltd to start Tarun Bharat was a trade advance.”We did it because as a party we incur expenditure for printing and advertisements in newspapers,” the minister said responding to Chavan’s allegations.

National Herald case: Accused Sam Pitroda granted bail by Patiala High Court

In a major relief to technocrat Sam Pitroda, who is one of the accused in the National Herald case, the Patiala High Court on Saturday granted him bail.The court also granted Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and three others exemption from personal appearance in line with a Supreme Court directive. Pitroda, who had earlier moved the bail application, furnished security of Rs. 50,000.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The next hearing in this regard has been scheduled for March 21 at 2 p.m.The court also reserved its order on release of documents to BJP leader and petitioner in this case, Subramanian Swamy relating to transactions of Associated Journals Limited. Swamy had asked for these documents for scrutiny and to corroborate charges against Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and others.Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the Gandhis, opposed the release of these documents to the BJP leader.Sibal said that Swamy could have access to these documents without proper reasons and omnibus access to the documents is not permitted. The Gandhis had moved the apex court earlier this month, appealing against an order that asked them to appear in a Delhi trial court on February 20.On June 26, last year, the trial court issued summons to them on Swamy’s allegations of ‘cheating’ in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) by Young India Ltd (YIL) — a firm in which Sonia and Rahul own 38 percent stakes each.The Delhi High Court had in December 2015 rejected their plea and directed them to appear before the trial court. The case relates to the Indian National Congress granting an interest-free loan of Rs. 90.25 crore (USD 13 million) to Associated Journals Limited (AJL), owner of the National Herald newspaper which was established by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938. It was alleged that the loan was either not repaid or repaid in cash, which is in violation of Section 269T of the Income Tax Act, 1961.A closely held company, Young Indian, was incorporated in November 2010 with a capital of Rs.5 lakh (USD 7,400) and it acquired almost all the shareholding of AJL and all its properties (alleged to be worth Rs.5000 crores (USD 740 million).The Congress leaders have accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP Government of ‘political vendetta’ in the National Herald case.

National Herald Case: Congress leader Ashwani Kumar hails SC’s order to exempt Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

Senior Congress leader Ashwani Kumar on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court order in the National Herald case saying it fully vindicates the position of the party and its leaders as regards the observations of the Delhi High Court on criminality, which have been expunged.Reacting to the apex court order, he said in a statement that there was further vindication of the position of the Congress leaders when the court granted them exemption from personal appearance in the trial court during the hearing.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kumar, a senior advocate who is part of the strategic team of party counsel in the case, said as far as the trial was concerned the Congress party has always affirmed its irrevocable faith in the integrity of the judicial process. That was why, the Rajya Sabha member said, the Congress leadership appeared in the trial court on the very first date of summoning.”We believe that through a fair trial and an independent judicial process, truth will prevail and the position of the Congress party and its leaders will be fully vindicated while the motivated prosecution will fall to the ground,” the former union minister said.

National Herald case: SC exempts Sonia Gandhi, Rahul from personal appearance for Patiala House court hearing

The Supreme Court today refused to interfere with the order of the Delhi High Court rejecting the plea of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings in the National Herald case before the trial court but gave them some relief by expunging certain observations of the High Court.The apex court also allowed their plea for exemption from personal appearance in the case before the trial court which is scheduled to take up the matter on February 20.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, it came with a rider with the court saying that it would be open for the Magistrate at any stage to seek their personal appearance as and when required.The Supreme Court was hearing the pleas of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi against the Delhi High Court verdict refusing to quash summons issued to them in the National Herald case. Subramanian Swamy who had filed the complaint said to CNN-IBN, “This is not a relief for the Gandhis; Personal appearance is also on certain condition.”The matter was listed before a bench of Justices JS Khehar and C Nagappan. JS Khehar and C Nagappan. Earlier, a bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice R Banumathi had assured senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Gandhi family, saying they will look into it for giving an urgent hearing.TS Thakur and Justice R Banumathi had assured senior advocate Kapial Sibal, representing the Gandhi family, saying they will look into it for giving an urgent hearing.Sibal said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy, who has filed the criminal complaint against the UPA Chairperson and five others, had earlier agreed to 12th February and now he was saying he is not available till 19th of this month.Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy, who has filed the criminal complaint against the UPA Chairperson and five others, had earlier agreed to 12th February and now he was saying he is not available till 19th of this month.A magistrate court had fixed 20th February for their appearance in the court.

National Herald case: SC to consider early hearing of Sonia, Rahul plea

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today said it will consider the pleas of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi that their appeals against the Delhi High Court verdict, refusing to quash summons issued to them in the National Herald case, be heard.

A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice R Banumathi assured senior advocate Kapial Sibal, representing the Gandhis, by saying “we will look into it”.

Sibal said Subramanian Swamy, the BJP leader who has filed the criminal complaint against the UPA Chairperson and five others, had earlier agreed to 12 February, the scheduled date of hearing, and now he is saying he is not available till 19 February.

The Gandhis and other co-accused may now have to appear again before the magisterial court here on 20 February if they fail to get any interim relief, on the issue of their personal presence, from the apex court.

Earlier, the Congress President, her son Rahul, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda had filed appeals in the apex court against the High Court verdict in the case.

Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. File photo. PTIRahul and Sonia Gandhi. File photo. PTI

Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. File photo. PTI

The High Court had on 7 December, 2015 not only refused to quash the summons issued to the Congress leaders, but had also made scathing observations on their “questionable conduct” regarding how they took control of the publication. Subsequently, the Gandhis and others had appeared before a Patiala House court on 19 December last year when they were granted bail.

The High Court, while refusing the plea of Gandhis and others, had said, “Questionable conduct of petitioners needs to be properly examined at the charge stage to find out the truth and so, these criminal proceedings cannot be thwarted at this initial stage.”

Along with the Gandhis, five other accused — Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd — had challenged the summons issued to them by a trial court on a complaint by Swamy against them for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct daily.

Swamy had accused Sonia, Rahul and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the AJL had owed to the Congress party.

Sonia, Rahul, Vora (AICC Treasurer), 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 26 June, 2014 asked them to appear before it on 7 August, 2014 but the order was stayed on 6 August by the Delhi High Court which on 7 December, 2015 vacated the stay by rejecting plea to quash the complaint and summons.

According to Swamy’s complaint, all of them were directors of Young Indian Ltd (YI), a company that was incorporated in 2010 and which took over the “debt” of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the publisher of National Herald.

PTI

Tussle between Subramanian Swamy, Kapil Sibal over National Herald hearing in SC

Congress lawyer Kapil Sibal on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to hear the National Herald case on its scheduled date of February 12 despite Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy telling the court that he is unavailable for proceedings till February 19.The Congress is seeking a stay on the proceedings at a trial court.Earlier, Swamy had given consent for February 12 for hearing at the apex court. The Supreme Court will now decide on listing the matter.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi had earlier moved the Supreme Court against a Delhi High Court decision that dismissed their appeals seeking a quashing of summons issued to them by a trial court in connection with the National Herald case.Swamy had alleged that both had cheated and created a breach of trust in the acquisition of the now-defunct National Herald by Young Indian Limited (YIL).On June 26, last year, the trial court issued summons to them on Swamy’s allegations of ‘cheating’ in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) by Young India Ltd (YIL) — a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi own 38 per cent stakes each.The Delhi High Court had in December 2015 rejected their plea and directed them to appear before the trial court.The case relates to the Indian National Congress granting an interest-free loan of Rs. 90.25 crore (US $13 million) to Associated Journals Limited (AJL), owner of the National Herald newspaper which was established by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938.It was alleged that the loan was either not repaid or repaid in cash, which is in violation of Section 269T of the Income Tax Act, 1961.A closely held company, Young Indian, was incorporated in November 2010 with a capital of Rs.5 lakh (USD 7,400) and it acquired almost all the shareholding of AJL and all its properties (alleged to be worth Rs.5000 crores (USD 740 million).Swamy filed the case alleging criminal misappropriation by both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. The courts have determined that a prima facie case has been established in the matter.

Sonia Gandhi, Rahul move Supreme Court in National Herald case

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi moved the Supreme Court on Thursday against a Delhi High Court decision that dismissed their appeals seeking a quashing of summons issued to them by a trial court in connection with the National Herald case.The summons was issued on a complaint by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy, who alleged that both had cheated and created a breach of trust in the acquisition of the now-defunct National Herald by Young Indian Limited (YIL).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On June 26, last year, the trial court issued summons to them on Swamy’s allegations of ‘cheating’ in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) by Young India Ltd (YIL) — a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi own 38% stakes each.The Delhi High Court had in December 2015 rejected their plea and directed them to appear before the trial court.The case relates to the Indian National Congress granting an interest-free loan of Rs. 90.25 crore (USD 13 million) to Associated Journals Limited (AJL), owner of the National Herald newspaper which was established by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938.It was alleged that the loan was either not repaid or repaid in cash, which is in violation of Section 269T of the Income Tax Act, 1961.A closely held company, Young Indian, was incorporated in November 2010 with a capital of Rs.5 lakh (USD 7,400) and it acquired almost all the shareholding of AJL and all its properties (alleged to be worth Rs.5000 crores (USD 740 million).Swamy filed the case alleging criminal misappropriation by both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. The courts have determined that a prima facie case has been established in the matter.

Abhorrent carriage of vigilante justice: Tanzanian girl in Bengaluru beaten, stripped, paraded naked

A 21-year old Tanzanian student was beaten, stripped off her clothing and forced to parade around naked by a lynch mob in Bengaluru. The absurd and downright disgusting incident occurred on Sunday, two days after a 35-year-old woman was allegedly run over by a car being driven by a Sudanese student.

According to Deccan Herald, the woman was killed on the spot, the car had hit motorcycles on Hesaraghatta Main Road in the city. The driver of the car,Mohammed Ismail, fled the scene. He was chased by locals, who attacked him. The locals set two cars on fire belonging to African students and thrashed two boys and a girl from Tanzania mistaking them to be Ismail’s (the driver) friends.

Representative image. PTIRepresentative image. PTI

Representative image. PTI

Deccan Chronicle reports that the 21-year-old, a second year Bachelors in Business Administration student from Acharya College, was beaten without mercy and stripped. She had arrived in another car to the scene with four others and had nothing to do with the accident, she was dragged out of the car and assaulted as the local police watched.

This other Deccan Chronicle report has named the hit and run assailant as Mohammed Ahad and says that he was returning home after a party. Ahad/Ismail’s car had hit two motorcycles and a car just a few meters close to the accident spot.

The News Minute reports that the angry mob burnt down a car — however, it is unclear as to whose car was burnt (the one that was the student’s or the one involved in the accident). Deccan Herald claims that the residents chased Ismail’s (Ahad) car, caught him, thrashed him and then set his car ablaze. Sify News claims that the mob also torched the second car along with their passports, ID cards, phones and ATM cards.

Bosco Kaweesi, legal advisor of All African Students Union told the journal that the mob thought the girl was with the same group (the ones who killed the woman) and forced them to come out of the car, “while three of her friends escaped, she was held by the locals, stripped, beaten up and paraded on the road,” he said.  It is stated in Deccan Herald that police rushed to the stop, additional forces were deployed to ease the tension; locals staged demonstrations seeking action against African students. The locals claim that they are frequently involved in incidents of rash driving.

Indian-origin Fijian Islamic State recruiter killed in Syria: Reports

Melbourne: An Indian-origin Fijian who is Australia’s most wanted Islamic State terror recruiter has reportedly been killed in Syria, according to media reports today.

The report of Neil Prakash’s death, a Melbourne-born radical, was posted on secure communications app Telegram, quoting an IS member.

The IS claim Prakash, also known as Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, has been “shahada” – the terror group’s description when a fighter is killed. No details have yet emerged of how or where he reportedly died, Herald Sun reported.

Islamic State. ReutersIslamic State. Reuters

Islamic State. Reuters

The terrorist, who allegedly had contact with some of those accused of plotting an Anzac Day terror attack in Victoria, flew to Syria in 2013, the report said. Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates those who served and died in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.

Until recently Prakash had used social media to groom potential terror recruits, but was forced to change his communication methods because of concerns he would be tracked by countries fighting IS. Federal Government and police sources were last night unable to confirm Prakash’s death, which would hurt the terror group’s international ­recruitment efforts, the report said.

However, one Government source has admitted that ­Prakash had “gone quiet” ­recently on his usual communication platforms. Reports of Prakash’s death have been communicated within IS groups. If Prakash’s death is eventually confirmed by anti-terror agencies, it would be likely to lead to an increase in security measures, with the Australian believed to have local supporters and sympathisers, the report said. Australian police last year issued a warrant for his arrest.

PTI

Ram Jethmalani offers free legal services to Sonia Gandhi in National Herald case

Former BJP leader and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani has offered to defend Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case filed against them by BJP member Subramanian Swamy, reports a leading English daily. Swamy has alleged irregularities in transfer of shares of the currently defunct newspaper National Herald.After the Delhi High Court dismissed Sonia Gandhi’s petition to quash summons sent to Rahul and her in a complaint case filed by Swamy over allegations of irregular share transfer from Associated Journals Ltd to Young Indian Ltd, Jethmalani rushed in to help.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He wrote to her offering his services free of charge with regards to the case. “I know you have many great lawyers in the party. Still, my services are available to you if you need,” he wrote on December 11.According to Jethmalani, “Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have done no wrong and that the charges against them were false and malicious”. He reminded the Gandhis about his role “in the recent Bihar elections”. But after he did not receive a reply from the Gandhis so he sent another letter on December 12. However all he got was a letter of acknowledgement from them.Jethmalani and Swamy have had a long rivalry after each of them made harsh comments about a case regarding Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. Swamy went through a grueling cross-examination by Jethmalani and in turn levelled personal charges against him. Jethamalani then filed a defamation case against Swamy.But both are against FM Arun Jaitley regarding the DDCA scam with Jethmalani taking up defamation charges against Kejriwal free of cost and BJP MP Kirti Azad is getting help by Swamy.

dna Must Reads : Top five stories of the evening

1. Pathankot terror attack: Pakistan carries out raids, arrests some suspectsPakistani authorities carried out raids at different places following attack on the Pathankot air base in India, leading to some arrests, intelligence officials said on Monday. They said that raids were carried out in Gujranwala, Jhelum and Bahawalpur districts and an unspecified number of people were arrested. “Probe has been going to ascertain if they were involved in the attack or some of them facilitated it,” they said. Read more here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Legendary rockstar David Bowie passes away at the age of 69 Rockstar, songwriter and producer David Bowie has passed away at the age of 69 after an 18 month battle against cancer. “David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief,” read a statement posted on the artist’s official social media accounts. Read more here.3. ‘Those who harm the country should be inflicted with pain’, says Manohar ParrikarDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday reiterated that incidents such as the Pathankot terror attack would continue to take place till the time the terror groups and attackers are not made to feel the pain which they inflict on others. “What I am saying is that history tells you that those who damage you, if they don’t realise the pain they inflict, they don’t change,” he said. Read more here.4. National Herald case: Court allows Subramanian Swamy’s plea to summon documentsA Delhi court today allowed the plea of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking summoning of documents from the Ministries of Finance, Urban Development and Corporate Affairs, Income Tax Department and other agencies in the National Herald case. Read more here.5. Here’s why Dhoni came in strong support of Test captain KohliIndia’s limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Monday stood firmly behind Test skipper Virat Kohli stating that “all hell only breaks loose when wickets offer turn” and the ones on which batsmen are hit on their head are considered “good tracks”. Read more here.