Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday opposed the plea filed by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi before Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court seeking issuance of a fresh passport.
Mr. Gandhi had surrendered his diplomatic passport following his disqualification as an MP on March 26. The disqualification was followed after his conviction by a court in Surat in a criminal defamation case over his ‘Modi’ surname remark.
Advocate Tarannum Cheema, who represented Mr. Gandhi, told the court that he could be granted a no-objection certificate.
Dr. Swamy, who is the complainant in the National Herald case in which Mr. Gandhi is one of the accused, told the court that as the cases were pending, allowing the applicant to travel abroad would hamper the ongoing probe.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vaibhav Mehta noted that no travel restrictions were imposed on Mr. Gandhi when he was given bail in the case in 2015. The court, however, maintained that Dr. Swamy had the right to file a reply to the applicant’s plea.
Advocate Satya Sabharwal. who assisted Dr. Swamy, told The Hindu that the BJP leader had received the notice from the court on Tuesday afternoon only. He said he sought time from the court to reply to the notice as the next hearing would take place on Friday.
Visit to America
Mr. Gandhi’s application for fresh passport was filed ahead of his planned visit to the U.S. during which he is expected to address a public rally at New York’s Madison Square Garden on June 4. The public rally will cap his week-long tour of the U.S., that includes a talk at Stanford University. This will be the first public rally by Mr. Gandhi in the U.S.
The National Herald case, currently being probed by the Enforcement Directorate on the orders of a trial court, is related to a private complaint filed by Dr. Swamy in 2012 in which he alleged that the assets of Associated Journals Ltd., which published the National Herald newspaper, were fraudulently acquired and transferred to Young Indian, in which Sonia Gandhi and her son Mr. Rahul Gandhi owned 38% shares each.
Both Mr. Gandhi and his mother were granted bail in the case on December 19, 2015.