National Herald: Sonia, Rahul may seek bail

New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi may seek bail in a trial court here on Saturday in the National Herald case if the need arises, party sources said on Friday.

The two leaders were also keen that party leaders and supporters from other states did not throng the capital on Saturday, the sources added.

Party sources said suggestions on senior state party leaders trooping into Delhi to coincide with the court appearance of the two were turned down by the top brass as it would have led to public inconvenience and traffic snarls and given an opportunity to political rivals to hit out at the party.

There was apprehension that a large gathering could be dubbed by Congress rivals as an effort to influence the judiciary, party sources observed.

However, the Congress has directed its MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to stay put in the national capital during the weekend.

Party leaders sought to delink instructions to MPs to stay back from the National Herald case.

There were reports earlier that all Congress chief ministers and leaders of legislative parties in the states will come to Delhi on Saturday. There were also reports that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi may not seek bail though party leaders gave firm indications that bail will be sought.

Party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said all legal options were open to the party, including applying for bail. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad too spoke in a similar vein on Thursday.

“The Congress president and vice president have full faith in the judiciary and full faith in the law of the land. Whatever we shall have to do as per the law, we will do,” Azad said.

Congress sources however said party leaders may converge at party’s central office at 24, Akbar Road, on their own to express solidarity with two top party leaders.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will appear in the trial court here on December 19 in connection with BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s complaint in the National Herald case.

The Delhi High Court this month dismissed a plea of the Gandhis to quash the summons issued to them for personal appearance by a trial court in the case.

The trial court later asked them to appear before it on December 19.

On June 26 last year, the trial court issued summons to the Congress leaders on Swamy’s complaint about “cheating” in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd., which published the National Herald newspaper, by Young India Ltd., “a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38 percent stake”.

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