NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leaders, including Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes, today told a Delhi court hearing the National Herald case that the complainant and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy was trying to defame them and vilify their party.
Other than the two leaders, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda made their submission before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal in response to an application moved by Swamy alleging that a Rs 414-crore fine was recently imposed on Young Indian Pvt Ltd by the Income Tax department in connection with the case.
The case involves Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi.
They, however, have not filed any reply to Swamy's application, which has alleged that the I-T department had launched a probe against the accused, also involving Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI), after taking note of his complaint in the case.
The Gandhis are major stakeholders in YI.
Swamy, in a private criminal complaint, has accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh, through which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which Associate Journals Ltd owed to the Congress.
"The application is surrounded by malafide as the same has been filed for the purpose of causing defamation of the accused-respondents and vilification of the Congress party," the accused persons said in their replies.
They also accused Swamy of "indulging in loud and persistent publicity amounting to an interference with the administration of justice".
"Before and after every date of hearing, he unleashes hostile publicity through tweets and/or statements to the media.
This conduct on the part of the complainant is clearly impelled by an intention to influence the outcome of the present proceedings through media intervention," they said.
They said the present application was not maintainable and termed it "a gimmick".
Moving the application on January 20, Swamy had said: "The I-T department took notice of the facts in my complaint and launched an investigation against the seven accused. An Rs 414-crore fine was imposed on YI for withholding information."
He said he found the documents related to the I-T department's December 27, 2017 order lying along with newspapers at his doorstep.
The court, however, had directed that the I-T department documents submitted by Swamy be kept in a sealed cover till further orders.
All the seven accused - the Gandhis, Vora, Fernandes, Dubey, Pitroda and YI - have denied the allegations levelled against them in the case.
The court had summoned the accused persons, besides YI, on June 26, 2014.
On December 19, 2015, it had granted bail to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to the summonses.
Pitroda was granted bail on February 20, 2016 when he had appeared in the court.
Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Vora (AICC treasurer), Fernandes (AICC general-secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned for the alleged offences of misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust and cheating, read with a criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code.