The Patiala House Courts on Saturday granted unconditional bail to the Congress party president Sonia Gandhi and her son and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, as the hearing lasted just a couple of minutes.
The bails were granted on Rs. 50,000 personal bond and one surety each. Priyanka Gandhi took surety for her brother Rahul Gandhi and AK Antony took surety for Sonia.
Although BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is the petitioner in the case, prayed before the court to put some conditions while granting bail, the court did not accept the plea and fixed 2 pm on February 20 as the next date of hearing.
“Gandhis will be present again on February 20, we have not yet asked for any exemptions,” Sibal, who represented the Congress leaders, said after coming out of the court near the India Gate which was choc-a-bloc with thousands of party supporters and security forces.
“Subramanian Swamy ki behas judge sahab ne nahi maani,” he said.
Five of six accused granted bail, said Sibal. He said only Sam Pitorda, the six accused, could not attend as he was having medical treatment in the US.
Earlier, before Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and their family members reached the court, the Congress party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala called Swamy a “stooge” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that he was acting as a “mask for him”.
The two Gandhis have been summoned by the court in relation to the National Herald case, after BJP leader Swamy filed the complaint.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the court appearance of Sonia and Rahul, Surjewala alleged that Swamy was a stooge of Narendra Modi and he was acting at the behest of the PM.
Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ghulam Nabi Azad asked why the Centre has allocated government accommodation to Swamy when he was not even an MP.
“The Centre has allotted Subramanian Swamy government accommodation and given him Z+ security. He is not an MP. He doesn’t face security threat. It is a reward for him for dragging the Congress leadership to court,” Azad said.
“BJP used to raise a slogan ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ ahead of General Elections. Now, they have amended that slogan to ‘Vipaksh (opposition) Mukt Bharat’,” he added.
A Delhi court on December 7 had dismissed a plea of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi to quash a trial court’s summons to them in the National Herald case.
On December 8, Sonia and Rahul were asked to appear in the court on 19 December.
The issue relates to alleged cheating and breach of trust in acquiring ownership of National Herald newspaper, which closed down many years ago.
The four other accused are Suman Dubey, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandez and Pitroda, who lives in the US.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the National Herald case was a matter of serious corruption and the government had nothing to do with the matter.