National Herald case hearing set to resume in Delhi HC today

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New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Thursday will hear the arguments of Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, who have filed a petition objecting to a “different treatment” being accorded to a challenge filed by them in the national herald case.
The Gandhis moved the HC on Wednesday.

In an application filed in the High Court, the Gandhis have said that their petition challenging a trial court order in the case had been part heard by Justice S Gaur and has now been placed before another judge Justice PS Teji in violation of the procedures and practice being followed by the court.

The application filed before the bench headed by the Chief Justice said that their challenge petition ought to have been listed before the bench of Justice Gaur before whom the matter was pending for over eight months and was heard by him at length on several occasions.

“Even as per the established procedures and practice of this honourable court, the registry ought to have placed this matter before the very same judge where the matter was part heard especially when the same has been clarified and appended to the roaster modification notice itself,” the application contended.

The application further said in the light of the above facts and circumstances the court may look into the matter and pass orders for listing of the matter before an appropriate bench in accordance with the established practise and procedures of the court.

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are principal shareholders in a company set up to relaunch National Herald, the Congress mouthpiece begun by Jawaharlal Nehru way back in 1938.

A private non-profit company ‘Young Indian’ was formed in March 2011, with Sonia and Rahul holding 38 percent shares each, with the specific aim of taking over the liabilities of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the parent company which owned National Herald and its Urdu version, Qaumi Awaz, all with money spent from the Congress coffers.

The two newspapers folded up on April 1, 2008. AJL’s liabilities of Rs.90.21 crore have been taken over by Young Indian for Rs 50 lakh, the entire amount paid by the Congress.

Another Rs 1 crore, it is learnt, has been spent by Young Indian in renovating the newspaper’s headquarters, Herald House, at 5A, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. This amount too has been funnelled by the Congress as loan.

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