Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul Gandhi, the top two leaders of India’s opposition Congress party, appeared in court Saturday to face corruption accusations that the party says are politically motivated.
Believed to have an ace up his sleeve at all times, BJP leader and the petitioner in the National Herald case Subramanian Swamy refused to be bogged down by the Patiala House court’s decision to grant bail to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi today.
Tight security arrangements were made in and around the District Courts Complex at Patiala House, near India Gate, as well as on the 3.3 km route from Ms. Gandhi’s 10, Janpath residence to Patiala House ahead of the Gandhis’ appearance.
He took a dig at the Congress for accusing BJP of political vendetta in the case.The court will next hear the case on February 20. Swamy pressed the court to impose conditions on the foreign travel of the accused, which was not accepted by the court. “They have got deep roots within the society and are public functionaries, so no regulations are required”, said the court in reaction.
The Gandhis waved to their supporters outside the court where hundreds of police and paramilitaries stood guard, before entering for a five-minute hearing in which they were granted unconditional bail. “I will win this case in 2016, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others will be sent to prison”.
Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, Gandhis’ family friend Suman Dubey and another party leader Oscar Fernandes and Sam Pitroda, a former chairman of the National Innovation Council, had been named as accused in the case.
Reiterating his mother’s comments, Rahul Gandhi said Congress would continue to fight for the rights of the poor. “We fully support whatever Ms. Gandhi said today, this government has a vindictive attitude and the bitterness of the campaign in Bihar is a prime example”, said Janata Dal (U) MP, K.C.Tyagi. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Swamy has been placed under Z-category and allotted a government bungalow as an award for dragging the Congress leadership to court”.
“It is sad that Swamy had asked for such a condition against people who are such prominent personalities”, said Abhishek Manu Singhvi, a senior Congress leader and Mr Gandhi’s lawyer.
They fiercely deny Subramanian Swamy’s allegations and accuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi of waging a political vendetta against them and their embattled party, which has been struggling since a bitter electoral defeat a year ago. Congress, obtained the National Herald, which ceased publication in 2008 in 2010. He, however, made it clear that the accused will have to appear before the court in the future hearings.