Sonia Gandhi and Rahul appeared before the trial court on Saturday and were granted bail.
New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul appeared before the trial court in the National Herald case today. The case has been on in a Delhi court for more than three years now.
Here are 10 things you need to know about the case:
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi appeared in a Delhi court on Saturday to face allegations that they illegally acquired property worth Rs 5,000 crore belonging to the National Herald newspaper. They were granted bail.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed the case in a local court in 2012. The trial court had issued summons to the two leaders among others in June 2014 but they approached the Delhi High Court seeking a stay. On Monday, the high court refused to stay the summons.
The Associated Journals Limited - which published the National Herald, a newspaper founded by Jawahar Lal Nehru - and its assets and liabilities were acquired by a company named Young Indian in which the Congress president and her son hold more than three fourths equity.
Mr Swamy alleges that the real motive of the transaction was to acquire real estate worth Rs 5000 Crore by the two Congress leaders and their associates.
The Young Indian was incorporated as a not-for-profit company with paid up capital of Rs 5 Lakh under section 25 of the Companies Act in November 2010. The Gandhis own 38 per cent shares each in the company and the remaining shares are held by Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Sam Pitroda and Suman Dubey. Congress leader and senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, who represented them in court, said the company is like a trust under the law and the directors do not earn anything from it.
National Herald went out of print in 2008. At that time, the parent company had an unpaid debt of Rs 90 Crores.
In the month after it was set up, the Young Indian board of directors passed a resolution to 'own' National Herald's outstanding debt. Mr Swamy alleges that debt - largely, the loan taken from the Congress Party - was made possible because the directors of Young Indian are top Congress leaders. Mr Vora was chief managing director of Associated Journals and is treasurer of the Congress.
The Congress says it gave the loan because the party's objectives matched National Herald's. BJP leaders say the Congress enjoys income tax exemption under law for being a political party and cannot divert its funds to a commercial entity.
Mr Swamy's petition alleges that for an extra Rs 50 Lakh Young Indian bought the entire share equity of Associated Journals. In the meanwhile, the Congress wrote off the loan as irrevocable.
Mr Swamy alleges through the two decisions, Young Indian has acquired the complete ownership Associated Journals' real estate - buildings in New Delhi, Lucknow, Bhopal, Indore, Mumbai, Panchkula, Patna and other places - worth at least Rs 5000 crore by paying Rs 50 lakh. Instead, some assets should have been liquidated to pay off the debt, the BJP leader contends.