The top leaders of India's opposition Congress party have appeared in court in connection with a corruption accusation.

Party president Sonia Gandhi and her son and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi appeared Saturday to face accusations of illegally acquiring the assets of the parent company of the National Herald, a newspaper once run by their family.

The Gandhis deny the allegations and call the charges a "vendetta" by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The accusations against the Gandhis and some supporters come from Subramanian Swamy, a BJP member.

The National Herald was set up in 1938 by independent India's first prime minister and Rahul Gandhi's great-grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru. The newspaper shut down in 2008 and the company that ran it, Associated Journals Limited, was converted into a real estate firm.