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National Herald Case | Court Directs Sonia, Rahul To Appear On December 19

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, son Rahul Gandhi and others were on Tuesday directed to appear in person on December 19 by a Delhi court which allowed their plea seeking exemption from personal appearance for the day in the ‘National Herald’ case

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Congress president Sonia Gandhi, son Rahul Gandhi and others were on Tuesday (08 December) directed to appear in person on December 19 by a Delhi court which allowed their plea seeking exemption from personal appearance for the day in the ‘National Herald’ case.

Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Harin Raval and Ramesh Gupta appeared for the Congress leaders and moved separate pleas seeking exemption from personal appearance for their clients for Tuesday alone.

Dr. Subramanian Swamy, who filed the case, however, told the court that there were seven accused in the case and the date was fixed in September itself.

“Accused number 2 [Rahul Gandhi] has left for Chennai this morning,” he said.

Mr. Gandhi left for a visit to flood-affected areas of Chennai and its suburbs and Puducherry.

‘Make sure all the accused appear on Dec. 19’

The magistrate, however, told the defence counsel to ensure that all the accused appear before the court on the next date of hearing on December 19.

“Make sure that all the accused appear on December 19. I am giving exemption from personal appearance only for today. Don’t come in the morning on December 19. You come at 3 p.m.,” the magistrate said.

During the brief hearing, the court said, “Is the judgment of the [Delhi] High Court on the net? Can I see it.”

Responding to the court’s query, Dr. Swamy placed a copy of the verdict of the High Court delivered on Monday before the court.

During the hearing, senior counsel Ramesh Gupta told the magistrate that accused Sam Pitroda is presently in the United States and they will try their best to make sure he appears before the court on December 19.

I Am Not Scared Of Anyone, Says Sonia

"I am the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anyone," a combative Congress President Sonia Gandhi asserted today, invoking the legacy of the late Prime Minister in the wake of the National Herald case.

"I am the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anyone. I am not disturbed." Gandhi told reporters after a meeting of the strategy committee of Congress party in Parliament.

She was asked about the Delhi High Court rejecting their pleas for quashing the summons by a Delhi court against them in the National Herald case.

The National Herald case had its echo in Parliament with Congress members staging protest in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over what they described as "political vendetta".

They, however, did not specifically mention the National Herald case in their protests in either of the House.

Combative Congress Disrupts Parliament

Combative Congress members, upset over the National Herald case, on Tuesday (08 December) paralysed Parliament protesting against alleged "vendetta politics" leading to repeated adjournments in the Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha.

No sooner had both the Houses assembled for the day, Congress members stormed the Well, shouting slogans against the government and refusing to heed to the Chair's repeated pleas that they return to their seats and raise the issue.

While no Congress member specified the issue agitating them, their vociferous protests came a day after the Delhi High Court, in a blow to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, declined to give them any relief in the National Herald case, asking them to appear before the trial court.

The court today, however, allowed their exemption pleas for the day, but directed them to appear in person on December 19.

"Down with dictatorship... Vendetta politics won't work," the Congress members shouted in Lok Sabha with party chief Sonia Gandhi looking on.

With proceeding being disrupted, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy took a dig at them, wondering what had happened in a day that shook the Congress members so much.

"Nation wants to hear what their issue is. Nobody knows it. We are ready to hear. Let them go to their seats and raise it," he said but the agitating members refused to budge.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan chided them time and again and continued with the Question Hour amidst the uproar.

"I am ready to allow you to speak but I don't know what your issue is. Someone tell me what is your issue," she said.

It was a similar story in the Upper House which saw repeated adjournments over the protests by Congress members.

(PTI)