[Live Updates] Cross Examination of Subramanian Swamy in National Herald Case
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[Live Updates] Cross Examination of Subramanian Swamy in National Herald Case

Bar & Bench

The cross examination of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the National Herald case is currently underway before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Samar Vishal.

Senior Advocate RS Cheema and Advocate Tarannum Cheema are expected to cross examine Subramanian Swamy today.

The National Herald case pertains to the assignment of a Rs. 90 crore loan advanced by the Congress party to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) – owner of National  Herald – to Young Indian for a consideration of Rs. 50 lakh.

In his private complaint, Subramanian Swamy has accused Young Indian, controlled by Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, and other Congress leaders, of cheating, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of property.

Live updates of today’s cross examination follow:

  • Proceedings begin. Cross examination to be in question answer form. Oath administered to Subramanian Swamy.
  • RS Cheema: Have you downloaded the article referred in your last deposition. Can you produce it? Subramanian Swamy:  Yes, I have brought the article.
  • Cheema: Is it correct that the article has been downloaded from the same website which has been mentioned by you in the complaint? Swamy: Yes.
  • Cheema: Is it correct that you have not reproduced the entire article in the complaint? Swamy: Yes, I had not produced the entire article. I produced the relevant part.
  • Cheema: Did you mention in your complaint or your statement that you had not produced the entire article and had only produced what in your view was relevant? Swamy: No, I did not mention in my complaint that it is not the entire article but only the relevant portion.
  • The Article in question is titled ‘National Herald shuts down after 70 years’ which is available on Sify website.
  • RS Cheema shows certain portions of the article to Swamy and asks if those were produced in his complaint. Correct, this part is not there, Swamy.
  • The left out part refers to temporary suspension of National Herald newspaper and Quami Awaz by Associated Journals Ltd.
  • Swamy is also shown National Herald and Quami Awaz newspapers dated April 1, 2008. The newspapers carry the suspension notice.
  • Cheema: The extract of the editorial reproduced in para 11 of complaint is a self edited exclusion of that portion which clear states that public of newspaper is being temporarily suspended till further notice. Swamy: It is not edited. It is an extract of the article.
  • I have given full address of the web link to the article. There was no attempt to hide anything… The publication of National Herald was later resumed from another site from April 7, 2016, Swamy adds.
  • This was well after the summons in this case was issued on 26 June 2014. Therefore, it was an after thought that despite 8 yrs elapsing, the publication was started. Soon after the closure of publication, the entire staff, journalists and workmen were given VRS, Swamy.
  • It is because of this deception that DDA and Ministry of Urban Affair have initiated litigation to acquire Herald House ..matter is in appeal before the Supreme Court, having failed before the High Court, Swamy.
  • Senior Adv Ramesh Gupta and RS Cheema object to the statement.
  • Cheema: when did the factum of resumption of publication of National Herald came to your notice? Swamy: I came to know when it was publicised in the newspapers ie. The date of the resumption.
  • I had not mentioned the fact of resumption of publication in my examination in chief and the reason given for it by me now, Swamy.
  • Since the republication was after 8 years and not from Herald House, I did not write about it, Swamy.
  • It is incorrect to state that I had projected a picture of final and permanent closure in the complaint to buttress a false case and had intentionally culled out portion mentioning temporary closure of National Herald, Swamy.
  • Cheema: The another site being referred to you as the Indian Express is not being used for printing of Indian Express newspaper and other publications not connected with the newspapers? Swamy: I am not aware about other publications. I know that National Herald is published from there.
  • Cheema: You have reproduced the objects of Young Indian in your pre-summoning evidence. Did you study the MoA, AoA of Young Indian before filing the complaint? Swamy: Yes.
  • Cheema: As per AoA and MoA, Young Indian was neither declared nor was it legally permitted to take up publication of a newspaper or any other journal? Swamy: Yes, there is no reference of such objects.
  • Cheema: Mr Gopikrishnan who appeared as your pre-summing witness is a member of an organization Action Committee against Corruption in India (ACACI) promoted by you and he is your close confidant. Swamy: The organization is no more in existence. When he was examined as a witness it was in existence and he was a member at that time. Being a journalist, he knew many politicians. Close confidant is a subjective term.
  • One of the accused, Rahul Gandhi, also corresponded with him. It is correct that he is present in court today without being summoned, Swamy adds.
  • Court asks Gopi Krishnan to sit outside.
  • Swamy is shown his tweets saying the ACACI finalised criminal complain against National Herald.
  • Swamy: Yes. Tweets are mine, Swamy. Cheema: As per these tweets dated Dec 15, 2015, the original research on national herald was done by Mr Gopi Krishnan. Swamy: Yes.
  • Cheema: The email which was sent by Gopi Krishnan to Mr Rahul Gandhi was sent by your instance and your consent? Swamy: No. He is an independent journalist. It was sent by him.
  • Cheema: In this email, there is not referece to AJL at all. Swamy: Yes.
  • Cheema: This email is of no consequence because you have yourself admitted earlier that Young Indian did not have the object of publication in his AoA and MoA. Swamy: I deny this. The reply from office of Rahul Gandhi answered the questions asked by Mr Gopi Krishnan.
  • Cheema: The reply sent to the email purportedly on behalf of Rahul Gandhi has absolutely no reference or whisper about AJL? Swamy:  Yes, because the question was whether YI had intention of publication of newspaper.
  • Cheema draws attention to Swamy’s earlier deposition. Cheema: Where is the reference in the query of Gopi Krishnan to YI as owner of AJL? Swamy: There is no reference to AJL because ownership of AJL by YI was in public domain. Whether AJL will publish or not was the decision of BOD of YI.
  • It is incorrect to suggest that in my complaint, I had intentionally and clearly set up a case that all the accused had finally and permanently shut down the publication of newspaper from AJL, Swamy.
  • Cheema: Do you agree that the best source to ascertain the correct position regarding any plan to resume publication was AJL itself? Swamy: The best source was the owner of AJL i.e. Young Indian.
  • Cheema: Did you, before filing the complaint, inquired from the so called best source i.e. YI or from AJL itself as to whether there was any plan for resumption of publication? Swamy: I did not. There was no need to since my case was on criminal offices committed by the accused.
  • Court takes a break.
  • Swamy raised objections against Senior Advocate Cheema using Hindi language in between. Swamy: Speak in English. It is the language of the Court. Before the debate could escalate, Judge Vishal said: Both Hindi and English are language of the Court. Hindi is the national language.
  • Cheema had asked: “Dr Sahab jis sadak pe Indian Express building bana.. ” Swamy objected saying: “Please speak in English. You must remember I am a Tamil.
  • Proceedings resume.
  • Cheema: Is it correct that in your complaint you define AJL as victim of cheating ?  Swamy: No, I never describe AJL as a victim of cheating.
  • Cheema: Is it your case that you never set up a version that the Congress Party was a victim of cheating perpetrated by the accused persons. Swamy: Principal shareholders of YI are also officer bearers of Congress Party. The Congress Party workers who collected the funds were cheated.
  • The Congress Party workers were the victim of cheating and officer bearers were cheaters, Subramanian Swamy.
  • Cheema:. Did you rely on the balance sheet of AJL for the period 01.04.2010 to 31.03.2011 ?Swamy: I did not rely but my witness produced this document and then I relied.
  • Cheema: I draw your attention to the extracts from the notes on account. Is it not apparent from the extract of the balance sheet that the closure was not permanent and revival and resumption were settled decisions of AJL even during the period of temporary suspension of newspaper? Swamy: I do not agree.
  • Cheema: You relied upon a press release on deposition by Janardan Dwivedi and placed on record a document. Is it not apparent from reading the document that the INC had done it’s duty in supporting AJL to help initiate a process to bring the newspaper back to health? Swamy: As per my recollection, Dwivedi’s press statement does not contain what he said.
  • It is incorrect to suggest that even from material collected by me and information available with me, it was clear that AJL was compelled to discontinue publication of newspaper by compelling financial health but there was a conscious planning …o..enable it to resume publication but despite availability of material in this regard I have intentionally distorted the factual picture to alledge the there was conspiracy to permanently shut down the publication carried out by AJL, Swamy.
  • Matter adjourned for the day.
  • Matter to be taken up next on September 28. Advocate Tarannum Cheema requests Court to take up the matter at 11 am as they need to appear before another court as prosecutors before that. Subramanian Swamy: I thought all accused were in your party. RS Cheema: No, now you are welcoming them.
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