Rahul Gandhi pleads not guilty in defamation case over Modi surname remark

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi arrives at the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Surat on Thursday, October 10, 2019.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi arrives at the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Surat on Thursday, October 10, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Didn’t say anything wrong, says the Congress leader; Court defers case to Dec. 10

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday appeared before a magisterial court in Surat and pleaded not guilty in a criminal defamation case filed against him by Purnesh Modi, BJP MLA from Surat West.

At the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate B.H. Kapadia, Mr. Gandhi said he had not said anything wrong, when asked whether he admitted to the charge. The court scheduled further hearing for December 10.

After his statement was recorded, his lawyers moved an application for his permanent exemption from personal appearance. When Mr. Purnesh Modi’s lawyers objected, the court said it would decide on the petition on December 10. It said Mr. Gandhi need not be present at the next hearing.

“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,” Mr. Gandhi wrote on Twitter after the proceedings.

At a campaign rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, Mr. Gandhi had said, “Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi... How come they all have Modi as common surname? How come all thieves have Modi as common surname?”

The Chief Judicial Magistrate served summons on Mr. Gandhi in May, admitting a complaint from Mr. Purnesh Modi under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. In his complaint, the MLA alleged that the Congress leader had defamed the entire Modi community with his remarks. The court held that there was a prima facie case of criminal defamation against Mr. Gandhi.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 12:44:59 AM |

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