New Delhi, Feb 20: A Delhi court today directed that the documents summoned from the Ministries of Finance, Urban Development and Corporate Affairs, Income Tax Department and other agencies in the National Herald case would be kept in a sealed cover till further orders.
The direction came as Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and other accused in the case told the court that Subramanian Swamy should first satisfy them about the relevance of the documents ordered to be summoned, as the BJP leader said he would tell the court about it.
Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen observed that since Delhi High Court was seized of the matter, it would be appropriate that photocopies of the documents placed before the court be kept in a sealed cover. "Since High Court is seized of the petition challenging the order dated January 11, it would be appropriate that photocopies of the records produced today by the witnesses be retained in a sealed cover till further orders.
The records be duly paginated before being sealed," the magistrate said. In his complaint, Swamy has accused Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and others of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of the now-defunct daily National Herald.
The court passed the order after Congress leader Oscar Fernandes and other co-accused in the case, including Gandhis, argued that documents summoned in the matter be kept in court custody till the legal issue on this aspect is decided.
During the proceedings in which scribes were not allowed in the courtroom, the court allowed exemption from personal appearance for the day to the Gandhis and three other accused -- Motilal Vora, Fernandes and Suman Dubey.
Co-accused Sam Pitroda appeared before the court and the magistrate granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 50000 with one surety of the like amount. Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge stood surety for Pitroda.
Fernandes moved an application contending that Swamy's plea to summon these documents was allowed by the court on January 11 without hearing the accused. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the Gandhis, said that Swamy should first satisfy the court about the relevancy of the documents which were summoned.
Countering his submissions, Swamy said he would tell the court about relevancy of the documents which were necessary as they pertained to Associated Journal Ltd (AJL). He said that Motilal Vora and Young India Ltd have already challenged the January 11 order before the High Court but the order was not stayed and the matter was listed for hearing on March 15.