The Delhi High Court on Monday ( February 22, 2021) was hearing a plea moved by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy seeking direction from the court to allow him to lead evidence before the trial court which was hearing the National Herald Case.
The trial related to a private criminal complaint filed by the BJP MP alleging the Congress leaders of offences of misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust and cheating, read with criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. It is alleged that in an attempt to recover an interest-free loan of Rs 90 Crore provided to Associated Journals Limited (AJL) by the Congress party the company was acquired by a smaller and newly incorporated company Young India (YI). Young India has only a combined capital of Rs. 50 lakhs. All the seven accused in the case denied all the allegations mentioned in the complaint filed in 2014. Swamy had already approached the trial court which was hearing the matter with a similar plea but was declined the opportunity to lead evidence during the trial phase. The trial court said that Swamy's plea to lead evidence under Section 244 of the Cr. P. C, 1973 can only be considered after hearing of other parties involved in the case. Aggrieved by this position of the trial court Swamy approached the Delhi High Court with the present plea.
The High Court after hearing the Advocate Satya Sabharwal, appearing for the BJP MP, and advocate Tarannum Cheema, appearing for the Gandhis and others, stayed the proceedings in the trial court till April 12th. Justice Suresh Kait also issued notices to the Gandhis, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and Young India (YI) to provide their response to the plea filed by Swamy. The responses are to be filed before April 12th. Swamy in his plea has sought an order for the appearance of several key witnesses. The list includes the secretary-general (registry officer) of the Supreme Court, a deputy land and development officer and a deputy commissioner of Income Tax. These officials according to Swamy are key to validating several documents related to the trial. The detailed hearing on the matter is posted for 12/04/2021.