Delhi court grants NOC to Rahul Gandhi to obtain ‘ordinary passport’ for 3 years

Rahul Gandhi Can Get Ordinary Passport, Court Says "Not For 10 But 3 Years"
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Rahul Gandhi needed the court’s clearance for an ordinary passport because he is an accused in the National Herald case.

New Delhi:  A Delhi court on Friday granted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi permission to get a regular passport for three years following the loss of his MP privileges after his disqualification from parliament.

Mr Gandhi had approached the court for a no-objection certificate (NOC) after he surrendered his diplomatic passport upon his disqualification as an MP.

“I’m partly allowing your application. Not for 10 years, but three years,” the judge told Mr Gandhi’s lawyer.

The former Congress chief needed the court’s clearance because he is an accused in, among others, the National Herald case, involving money laundering and misappropriation of funds, filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

The court on had Wednesday asked Mr Swamy, a former BJP MP, to file his reply by Friday to Mr Gandhi’s request seeking the no-objection certificate.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vaibhav Mehta had observed the right to travel is a fundamental right and courts had placed no restrictions on the movement of the Congress leader, who travelled several times without having to obtain permission.

The magistrate also said that while granting bail to Mr Gandhi in December 2015, the court had placed no restrictions on his travel and the plea of Mr Swamy for imposition of restrictions was rejected then.

Mr Gandhi was disqualified as a Lok Sabha member after his conviction in a defamation case earlier this year over his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname.

The National Herald case is based on a private criminal complaint of Mr Swamy against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others, accusing them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

Mr Swamy has accused them of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of the now-defunct English 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 the National Herald.

Mr Swamy had accused Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying ₹ 50 lakh, by which YI obtained the right to recover ₹ 90.25 crore which the AJL had owed to the Congress party.

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