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Rahul Gandhi can get ordinary passport, court says, not for 10 but 3 years

Rahul Gandhi had requested permission to obtain an ordinary passport.

New Delhi:

A Delhi court on Friday granted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi permission to obtain an ordinary passport for three years following the loss of his privileges as an MP following his disqualification from parliament.

Mr Gandhi had approached the court for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) after he surrendered his diplomatic passport following his disqualification as an MP.

“I partially accept your request. Not for 10 years, but three years,” the judge told Mr Gandhi’s lawyer.

The former Congress leader needed court clearance as he is accused of, among other things, the National Herald case involving money laundering and embezzlement, filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy .

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

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vaibhav Mehta had observed that the right to travel is a basic right and the courts had imposed no travel restrictions on the Congress leader, who traveled several times without having to obtain permission.

The magistrate also said that in granting bail to Mr Gandhi in December 2015, the court had not imposed any restrictions on his movements and that Mr Swamy’s plea for the imposition of restrictions had then been rejected .

Mr Gandhi was disqualified as a member of Lok Sabha after he was convicted in a defamation case earlier this year for his remarks 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, accusing them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

Mr Swamy accused them of cheating and embezzlement in acquiring ownership of the now defunct English National Herald daily.

All were directors of Young Indian Ltd (YI), a company incorporated in 2010 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 embezzle funds by paying only Rs 50 lakh, whereby YI secured the right to recoup Rs 90.25 crore which AJL had due to the Congress party.

(With agency contributions)


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