India

National Herald case: Indian court summons for Gandhis

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi accepting defeat on 16 May 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Congress party has denied allegations against its leaders

Top Indian Congress party leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have been ordered to appear in court for allegedly illegally acquiring the assets of a newspaper.

The National Herald newspaper, which ceased publication in 2008, was acquired by the Congress in 2010.

The petitioner, Subramanian Swamy of the ruling BJP, says the Gandhis took it over for its considerable assets.

The Congress leaders deny any wrongdoing. They will now appear before a district court on 19 December.

The Delhi High Court rejected their plea to be exempted from personal appearance in court.

The party has previously said it wanted to revive the paper, established in 1938 by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

But Mr Swamy said the leaders used party funds illegally to acquire the newspaper's properties.

Mrs Gandhi denied that she was upset with the court's order.

"Why should I be upset? As I told my friends, I am Indira Gandhi's daughter-in-law and I am not scared of anybody," the NDTV website quotes her as saying.

The Congress party lost general elections last year, winning only 44 of the 543 seats after governing India for 10 years.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a landslide victory with 282 seats and formed a government.

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