New Delhi, May 26
A Delhi court on Friday granted a no-objection certificate (NOC) to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for issuance of an “ordinary passport” for three years, instead of the normal 10-year period, following an objection raised by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.
Rahul had surrendered his diplomatic passport upon his disqualification as an MP following his conviction and award of two-year imprisonment in a defamation case by a Gujarat court. “I am partly allowing your application. Not for 10 years but three years,” Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Vaibhav Mehta told Rahul’s counsel.
Rahul is scheduled to visit Washington DC, New York and San Francisco in the US in the first week of June to attend meetings and interact with university students. He is likely to address Indian-Americans, meet lawmakers at the US Capitol and interact with members of think tanks, Wall Street executives and university students during his stay.
Swamy, who is the complainant in the National Herald case against Rahul and others, opposed the application, saying it was ”devoid of any merit” and insisted the passport should be issued only for one year and renewed every year thereafter. "It is a special case. The passport should not be issued for 10 years. It seems wrong," he said, claiming Rahul’s Indian citizenship was under question. He alleged Rahul was a British citizen.
Rahul’s advocate Tarannum Cheema contested Swamy’s claim and said two petitions asking for initiating criminal proceedings against the Congress leader on the citizenship issue had already been rejected by higher courts. In the present case, even charges had not been framed, Cheema added.
The National Herald case is based on a private criminal complaint by Swamy against Sonia, Rahul and others, accusing them of cheating and criminal breach of trust.
Swamy has accused them of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of the now-defunct daily newspaper National Herald. All of them were directors of Young Indian Ltd (YI), a company that was incorporated in 2010 and which took over the ”debt” of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the publisher of National Herald. Swamy has accused Sonia, Rahul and others of conspiring to misappropriate funds by paying Rs 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the AJL owed to the Congress. (With PTI inputs)
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