NEW DELHI, Dec 7 - Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul Gandhi, today suffered a big jolt when the Delhi High Court rejected their pleas for quashing the summons against them in The National Herald case, an order the party plans to challenge in the Supreme Court tomorrow.
Making scathing observations on the �questionable conduct� regarding how they took control of the publication, Justice Sunil Gaur also turned down the plea of the Gandhis and five others for exemption from personal appearance in the case in the trial court, where it is listed tomorrow.
Along with the Gandhis, five other accused � Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd � had challenged the summons issued to them by a trial court on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy against them for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct daily.
�After having considered the entire case in its proper perspective, this court finds no hesitation to put it on record that the modus operandi adopted by petitioners in taking control of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) via special purpose vehicle i.e. Young India Ltd (YIL), particularly, when the main persons in Congress Party, AJL and YIL are the same, evidences a criminal intent.
�Whether it is cheating, criminal misappropriation or criminal breach of trust is not required to be spelt out at this nascent stage.
�In any case, by no stretch of imagination, it can be said that no case for summoning petitioners as accused in the complaint in question is made out. 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,� the judge said in his 27-page order.
The judge was also of the view that �the gravity of the allegations levelled against petitioners (Sonia, Rahul and others) has a fraudulent flavour involving a national political party and so, serious imputations smacking of criminality levelled against petitioners need to be properly looked into.� � PTI