Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday pleaded not guilty before a court in Surat in Gujarat in connection with a defamation case against him. Rahul Gandhi who is now back in the country was present before a magisterial court today in Surat to defend himself in a criminal defamation case over Modi surname remark, where he had asked why all thieves have the Modi surname.
Chief Judicial Magistrate BH Kapadia had in May issued summons to Rahul Gandhi after admitting a complaint filed by a BJP leader. While admitting the plea, the court had held that there was a prima facie case of criminal defamation against former Congress President.
Reportedly, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday also filed an application for a permanent exemption for his personal appearance in the case. However, the court said it would reply to his application on December 10. Under the application for a permanent exemption, an accused may be exempted from appearing in criminal proceedings, provided certain conditions are fulfilled.
Responding to the defamation case against him, Rahul Gandhi had stated that the defamation case filed against him by his political opponents, who were desperate to silence him. The Gandhi-scion had taken to Twitter to thank Congress workers for their “support and solidarity”.
I am in Surat today to appear in a defamation case filed against me by my political opponents, desperate to silence me.
I am grateful for the love & support of the Congress workers who have gathered here to express their solidarity with me. #SatyamevJayate pic.twitter.com/HZmAcEhciu
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 10, 2019
A case was filed against him after he had mocked by asking ‘why all thieves share the Modi surname’ during a Lok Sabha election rally in Karnataka in April. “Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi… how come they all have Modi as a common surname? How come all thieves have Modi as a common surname?” Gandhi had made the remark at a campaign rally in Kolar, Karnataka.
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Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Surat Purnesh Modi had filed a complaint against the Congress leader for defaming the entire Modi community.
Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi was booked under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, which deal with criminal defamation. At the last hearing in July, Gandhi was granted exemption from personal appearance from that proceeding.
Later in the day, Rahul Gandhi will appear in another case in Ahmedabad on Friday at 3 pm. The case has been filed by a local BJP corporator Brahmbhatt for the Congress leader’s alleged comment against Union home minister and BJP president Amit Shah.
Rahul Gandhi has been several defamation cases at various courts across the country, and he has been granted in all those cases.