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Sonia, Rahul get bail in National Herald case

The protesters were holding play cards mentioning complete support to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and terming BJP’s and Subramaniam Swamy’s allegations as personal attack on Congress leadership.

This was the first time that the Gandhis appeared before a court in pursuance of the summons issued to them on December 8.

Sonia’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi and former Defense Minister A.K. Antony provided sureties, the lawyer said.

Later in the day, Sonia said, “Today we had appeared before the court with a clean conscience. Modi Ji talks about Congress-free India; India will never be Congress free”. We will continue to expose the misdeeds of the Modi Government.

As a follow-up to the Gandhis’ battle cry, the party will now hit the streets. He posted the case for further hearing at 2 pm on February 20, next year.

“The current government is intentionally targeting its opponents by using government agencies”, she said.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who has filed the case, argued that the court should impose restrictions on the Gandhis’ travel, but the judge did not agree.

Asked if the case will again result in disruption of Parliament’s proceedings from Monday, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs expressed confidence of it running smoothly, saying all parties had given assurance in this regard in the all party meet held yesterday. He is not facing any threat from any terrorist organisation. Azad and his Lok Sabha counterpart Mallikarjun Kharge said the Congress has full faith in the judiciary to get justice as it has full faith right from the Supreme Court to the lowest court.

None of the workers were arrested as they disbursed peacefully after raising slogans against Swamy, police said.

An Indian magistrate granted bail to opposition leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi minutes after they arrived at a Delhi court on Saturday, over allegations they illegally acquired a newspaper’s assets.

The Congress leaders will appear before a district court in Delhi. The latter may perhaps worry that the Gandhis, with a Congress united behind them, would confront the political challenge politically, even as they respond to legal procedures through the courts.

BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao, meanwhile, said that initially the Congress party’s attempt was to build pressure and give an opinion to the people that this was some kind of administrative action or political vendetta by rivals.

Sudhakar Babu accused the BJP of hounding the Congress, as the party regained the lost ground in the Gujarat panchayat elections and Madhya Pradesh.

Objection by the accused in the High Court that Swamy had no locus in the matter since he was neither a shareholder of the Association Journals Limited, the company which once published National Herald, and owns expensive real estate across the country, were easily disposed.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had also gone to the court as a solidarity with Gandhis, talked of the party’s determined fight for its values, its ideas and ideals and asserted that “nobody can detract the Congress Party from that path”.

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