The judge’s rejection of BJP functionary Subramanian Swamy’s argument against bail for the Gandhis – on the ground that “charges can not be termed serious in magnitude at this stage” – underlined what proved to be a good day for Congress in court.
The Gandhis were speaking after they were granted bail in the case based on a private criminal complaint lodged by Swamy against them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.
But going to jail in what is essentially a property case, and by no stretch of imagination and political case, would have further exposed the marginalization of the Gandhis in the polity with no Opposition party willing to stand by them in the Herald case.
Senior Congress leader and former CLP leader in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Sunil Jakhar today said that the Bhartiya Janata Party government at the centre was resorting to political terrorism in an attempt to stifle the voice of dissent and the voice of opposition.
After the hearing, though, it was back to political messaging. Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Vadra, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Rajiv Shukla, Ajay Maken, Kumari Selja and A.K. Antony were already present in the court room to express solidarity when the Congress chief entered the court.
Both Sibal and Singhvi told reporters after the proceedings that the court rejected Swamy’s plea and gave bail to the leaders. “When the Gandhis entered, they were made to stand in a corner where the accused are supposed to be”.
But it was the beginning of another bitter fight between the Congress and the BJP.
The National Herald was set up in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister and Rahul’s great-grandfather.
However, Sonia and Rahul were not deterred by such false propaganda and made a decision to face the cases foisted on them, he said seeking the party activists unmask the BJP’s evil intension of mudslinging on Gandhi’s family.
Sonia said she appeared in the court with pure heart as any law abiding citizen should do. “They said they will not take bail”.
Despite denial of any show of strength in support of the Congress leadership, a huge crowd descended at the Akbar Road, many of them coming from Gandhis’ Amethi and Rai Bareli constituencies.
“The current government is intentionally targeting its opponents by using government agencies”.
Asserting that Congress will continue to fight for the poor, Rahul said, “We will not budge an inch”. “The truth will come out”, Sonia Gandhi said.
The leaders, along with three others, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey, appeared at the Patiala House court.
The court fixed February 20, 2016 at 2 pm for the next hearing. While the Congress has not yet raised this issue in Parliament, party leaders believe the allegations against Jaitley will take the heat off the Congress. Rahul Gandhi, who was with her, waved to the crowd that had gathered to have a glimpse of them. “He wants a Congress-free India”.
The Congress on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government were behind Subramanian Swamy’s court case against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on the National Herald issue.
Swamy first filed the case against the Congress bosses in 2001.