The court will decide on Motilal Vora’s petition to stop Subramanian Swamy from tweeting about the case on January 8, 2019. Swamy's claims about The National Herald and its floating owners Associated Journal Limited and Young Indian, with 38% stakes each of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, will be cross-examined that very day.
New Delhi: Veteran Congress leader Motilal Vora has got no relief from the Patiala House court in the National Herald case. The court will decide on Vora’s petition in this regard on January 8, 2019. Subramanian Swamy will be cross-examined that very day.
Vora had appealed to the court to make Swamy refrain from tweeting about the proceedings of the case. But the court reserved its judgment during the hearing on October 20. In the course of the hearing, Swamy had deposed that saying “Congi” to refer to the Congress was not derogatory. The maverick, right-wing politician also insisted he had all the right to tweet about the court’s proceedings. He said nobody should be legally concerned about his tweets as the tweets do not constitute evidence as per the Indian Evidence Act.
Swamy had said further that his intention was not to influence the court with his tweets. He said that the petition from a Congress member should be treated on the basis of its merits rather than what is going on in Twitter.
Swamy invoked Shashi Tharoor’s case against Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV at the Delhi high court that had rejected the petition to stop broadcast of programmes about the Congress leader’s alleged involvement in the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.
Swamy said that the Indian judiciary was an open system where the Supreme Court allowed live telecast of court proceedings. Given this openness of the system, he cannot be prohibited from tweeting about the National Herald case.
To that, the defence lawyers said that Swamy’s tweets were affecting their work at a stage when the court is hearing their version of the story. They referred the court to a term Swamy had used: “Congi lawyers”. Defence lawyer RS Cheema said that he did not belong to any political party.
The petitioner drew the court’s attention also towards the ‘derogatory’ references to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in Swamy’s tweets. Swamy uses “Tadaka” to refer to the first and “Pappu” and “Bambino” (Italian for “son”) to refer to the second.
Swamy is the chief plaintiff in the National Herald case. According to him, the claim that the Congress paid Associated Journal Limited (AJL) Rs 90 crore is false. The Income Tax department had told Young India it had withheld the information of its income of Rs 414 crore and that it must pay the tax due on the basis of this income. With this information, Swamy has appealed to the court to declare the Congress-AJL deal to be null and void.
AJL is the company that owns National Herald. On February 26, 2011, the Congress had taken upon themselves the task of unburdening the company of its debt of Rs 90 crore. After that, the AJL was floated with a capital of Rs 5 lakh and 38% share each of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. The rest of the shares are with Vora and Oscar Fernandes.
Thereafter, AJL floated nine crore shares of Rs 10 each, which were handed over to Young Indian, a new company. In return, Young Indian was supposed to repay the Congress leaders. Armed with nine crore shares, Young India became the 90% shareholder of the owner of National Herald. And then, the Congress waived off the Rs 90 crore loan!
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Last Updated Nov 17, 2018, 3:16 PM IST