New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday termed as “malafide" a plea of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking some documents from the party in the National Herald case.

The Gandhis, in their reply filed before a court, said Swamy’s plea was “an attempt to make out a new case". The Gandhis and four other Congress leaders, against whom the complaint has been made, also said that the BJP leader’s plea was “a ploy to delay proceedings in the case" and “an absolute disgrace for the precious time of the court and of the larger judicial process".

“Such an approach is impermissible in law. The endeavour of the complainant to have access to documents and then decide what his case actually shall be, displays the malafide nature of the current application," the Congress politicians said. The reply said that Swamy has been making “persistent efforts" to have access to documents by filing applications. The BJP politician, meanwhile, filed a set of documents of around 450 pages reportedly relating to the Congress party, National Herald and others before metropolitan magistrate Lovleen to seek a response from the accused as to whether those were correct.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on 23 September. Swamy, in his complaint, has accused the Gandhis and the others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs50 lakh through which Young Indian Pvt. Ltd (YI) obtained the right to recover Rs90.25 crore that the Associate Journals Limited (AJL) owed to the Congress. The Gandhis and the other accused—senior party leaders Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda—have denied the allegations levelled against them.

Swamy has sought documents from the AJL, including a copy of the bank statement filed with the registrar of companies (ROC), the minutes of a meeting in which decision to convert the loan into share capital was taken, the balance sheet, the profit and loss account, along with the auditor’s report in the year in which the loan was granted. The documents sought from the Congress party include the minutes of the meeting of the Congress working committee authorizing the loan waiver from the AJL to the YI and a copy of the loan agreement between the Congress and the AJL.

The court had summoned the accused persons, besides the YI on 26 June 2014. On 19 December 2015, it had granted bail to Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to summons. Pitroda was granted bail on 20 February 2016 when he had appeared in the court. Sonia, Rahul, Vora (AICC treasurer), Fernandes (AICC general secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned for the alleged offences of dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust and cheating, read with criminal conspiracy under the IPC.

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