A Delhi court on Friday granted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi permission to obtain a regular passport for three years following the loss of his MP privileges following his disqualification from parliament.
Gandhi approached the court for a no objection certificate (NOC) after he surrendered his diplomatic passport following his disqualification as an MP.
“In part I am allowing his request. Not for 10 years, but for three years,” the judge told Gandhi’s lawyer.
The former head of Congress needed court authorization because he is accused, among others, in the National Herald case, involving money laundering and misappropriation of funds, brought by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.
The court on Wednesday asked Mr. Swamy, a former BJP MP, to submit his response on Friday to Mr. Gandhi’s request for the no-objection certificate.
Additional Metropolitan Chief Magistrate Vaibhav Mehta had noted that the right to travel is a fundamental right and the courts had placed no restrictions on the movement of the Congress leader, who traveled several times without having to obtain permission.
The magistrate also said that although Gandhi was granted bail in December 2015, the court did not place restrictions on his travels and Swamy’s request for restrictions was rejected at the time.
Gandhi was disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha following his conviction in a libel case earlier this year over his comments about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname.
The National Herald case is based on a private criminal complaint by Mr. Swamy against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others, charging them with deceit, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.
Swamy has accused them of cheating and misappropriation of funds when acquiring the property of the now defunct English newspaper National Herald.
All of them were directors of Young Indian Ltd (YI), a company that was incorporated in 2010 and which took on the “debt” of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the publisher of the National Herald.
Mr. Swamy accused Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds just by paying Rs 50 lakhs, whereupon YI got the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore owed by AJL to the Congress party.
(With agency contributions)
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