A Delhi court today dismissed an application by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the National Herald case seeking a direction to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, his mother Sonia Gandhi and other accused to either admit or deny if certain documents filed by him were original. Holding that the plea was delaying proceedings in the case, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal observed that none of the accused was stated to be the author of any of the documents. “When the documents themselves are not admissible (the question of relevancy apart) in evidence due to some legal bar, the accused justifies himself legally in his decision to neither admit or deny those documents. “Therefore, for the aforesaid reasons mentioned, the application under section 294 CrPC for directing accused to admit or deny the documents cannot be allowed,” the court said in its order.
The BJP leader, in a private criminal complaint, has accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh, through which Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that Associate Journals Ltd owed to the Congress. The court also disposed of two other applications filed by Swamy — one seeking certain documents from the Congress party and other urging the magistrate to take on record certain documents related to the Income Tax department — saying they will be decided on the later stage. It said that the “relevancy and admissibility” of the two applications shall be decided at the stage of evidence or judgement as the case may be.
The court said, “The way complainant is moving the applications under section 91 CrPC or for placing on records documents is not serving any purpose but is in fact delaying the trial.” It said, “The trial has already delayed as the first date for leading prosecution evidence was February 20, 2016 and till now the evidence has not been started.” It said,”In these circumstances, keeping in view the fact that the trial is getting delayed, it has to be put back on the right track. Therefore, in order to streamline this trial, it is directed that the complainant shall get himself examined as the first witness of the prosecution and shall lay the foundation of this case.”.
The court said,”Thereafter, the witnesses, officials or otherwise to prove the documents by which the complainant further wants to prove documents his case shall be summoned.” It said that Swamy should file a consolidated list of witnesses containing their names or designation or any other relevant detail along with the details of the documents which such witnesses will prove. “Therefore, it is ordered that whatever documents the complainant wants to summon and prove shall be summoned/proved by the witnesses, who are legally competent to prove those documents. “The relevancy and admissibility of these documents shall be decided at the stage of evidence or judgment as the case may be,” the court said.
The court fixed the case for July 21 for the examination of Swamy, saying, “It is made clear that there will be no deviation from this procedure so that this trial can be brought to its conclusion expeditiously in an effective manner”. All the seven accused – the Gandhis, Motilal Vora (AICC treasurer), Oscar Fernandes (AICC general secretary), Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and YI – have denied the allegations levelled against them in the case. The court had summoned the accused persons, besides YI, on June 26, 2014.
On December 19, 2015, it had granted bail to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to the summonses. Pitroda was also granted bail on February 20, 2016 when he had appeared in the court. Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Vora, Fernandes, Dubey and Pitroda had been summoned for the alleged offences of misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust and cheating, read with criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code.