Metropolitian magistrate Gomati Manocha, while issuing the summons, said, "I have found prima facie evidence against all the accused."

The court has directed them to appear before it on August 7. Apart from Sonia Gandhi and Congress party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the court has also summoned senior Congress leaders Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes.

The court also issued summons to Sam Pitroda, former advisor to Manmohan Singh on public information, infrastructure and innovation, who also headed the National Innovation Council, a think tank to analyze and help implement strategies for inclusive innovation during the UPA regime.

Former journalist Suman Dubey, who is close to the Gandhi family, was also summoned by the court. Summons were issued on a private complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

Speaking to reporters, Swamy said, "This is a fraud, criminal breach of trust as they have managed to misappropriate the fund of Rs. 2,000 crore.”

“It is important for the court to take the passports of Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi so that they do not run away from the country before the hearing in the court," added Swamy.

The National Herald newspaper was established in 1938 by India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Rahul Gandhi is Nehru's great grandson. The newspaper was shut down in 2008.

(Agencies)

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