Facing a private criminal complaint lodged by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the transfer of shares of the defunct party newspaper Herald to a newly-created company, the two Gandhis, accompanied by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh besides Priyanka Gandhi appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen at 2.50 PM.
The party's legal eagles Kapil Sibal, Ashwini Kumar, both former Union Law Ministers, and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, as also top Congress leaders such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, A K Antony, Shiela Dikshit, Ambika Soni and Meira Kumar were at hand.
Sonia, Rahul and three other accused in the case --Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey--sought bail which was granted after they furnished personal bond of Rs.50,000 and one surety each. One of the accused Sam Pitroda was not present as he was stated to be unwell.
Swamy pressed the court to impose conditions on the foreign travel of the accused, which was not accepted by the court.
He said later that he had not opposed the bail but had told the court that conditions should be imposed on the Gandhis' travel abroad since they "were in the habit of running away from the country".
The magistrate fixed Feb 20 as the next date of hearing and the proceedings were over within minutes after which the Gandhis came out smiling. They had to navigate through jostling lawyers, journalists, security men and party workers to reach their cars.
Later addressing the media at the party office, Sonia, Rahul and Manmohan Singh hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of levelling "false allegations" against them and making "full use" of government agencies to "deliberately target" the Opposition.
"We will continue the fight and not bow down," they said.