A Delhi court on Saturday granted unconditional bail to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case of cheating and misappropriation.
Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen asked the Gandhis to furnish a personal bond of Rs. 50,000 with one surety for a like sum each.
After the hearing, the mother and the son arrived at the AICC headquarters amid sloganeering by workers.
Senior Congress leaders P. Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Ambika Soni, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid stood behind Ms. Gandhi.
As Ms. Gandhi spoke from the podium, the crowd of roughly one thousand people fell silent. “I went to court with a clean mind and like a law-abiding citizen. I have no doubt that the truth will come out,” she said. “We are not facing this political vendetta for the first time; we have faced it in the past, too. It won’t weaken our resolve. Our fight for the poor will continue.”
Ms. Gandhi handed over the microphone to her son, who was quick to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “[Mr.] Modi thinks that the Opposition will be cowed into submission through false cases. But we will continue to fight for the poor,” he said.
The Gandhis then met several dozen MPs and thanked them for their support.
Speaking to The Hindu, senior leader Digvijaya Singh said Ms. Gandhi told the MPs that they should intensify their “aggression” against the ruling BJP.
At the court hearing, the former Union Minister, A.K. Antony, stood surety for Ms. Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for her brother.
As it happened: >Sonia, Rahul granted bail
The court also granted bail to the other accused — Congress general secretary Oscar Fernandes, treasurer Motilal Vora and the Gandhi family loyalist Suman Dubey — on the same terms and conditions.
Sam Pitroda, another accused, did not appear. The court had exempted him from personal appearance on medical grounds. But he would have to appear and seek bail at the next date of hearing.
When the court granted bail to the Gandhis, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, on whose complaint the court had summoned them, urged the court to set a condition that they should not leave the country without its permission, arguing that they could flee as they were influential persons.
But the court rejected his plea. “The accused are reputed persons and the office-bearers of the country’s oldest party. There is no apprehension that they will flee,” the judge said.
Earlier, Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsel for the two leaders respectively, filed bail applications for them. On December 8, the Gandhis and the other accused agreed to appear before the court, and the Magistrate asked them to appear on December 19.