U.S. President George W. Bush meets with President of the Indian National Congress Party Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi, India, on March 2, 2006. (UPI Photo/Raj Patidar) | License Photo
NEW DELHI, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- India's parliament was disrupted Tuesday by members of the National Congress Party, who say a court case against two of its leaders is a political vendetta.
Congress Party legislators, rallying behind Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, shouted anti-government slogans as parliament began its session Tuesday, delaying discussion of a crucial tax bill and forcing adjournment.
The protests came a day after the Delhi High Court demanded the Gandhis appear to testify in what has become known as the "National Herald case." Subramanian Swamy of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) filed a lawsuit against the Gandhis and their associated companies, saying a $13 million interest-free loan, from the Congress Party to the Gandhis to acquire newspaper companies and real estate, was never repaid, a violation of Indian tax law. The case has been delayed numerous times, and the Gandhis failed to appear in court on Dec. 7. Their hearing has been rescheduled for Dec. 19.
The Congress Party regards the case as a persecution of its leadership.
"This is the way the union government tries to silence me. It will not happen and I will continue to ask questions and put pressure on the government," Rahul Gandhi said, adding he "absolutely saw political vendetta" in the case.
"There is no political vendetta. Congress leaders should face the court," commented government Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Sonia Gandhi is the Italian-born widow of Rajiv Gandhi, the former prime minister of India who was assassinated in 1991. She is the daughter-in-law of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Rajiv's mother, who was assassinated by one of her bodyguards in 1984.