In Surat, Rahul Gandhi pleads not guilty to defamation charge on ‘all thieves have Modi surname’ remark
The Congress leader was summoned by the court based on a complaint of criminal defamation filed by Surat (West) BJP MLA Purnesh Modi. The complainant has said that Gandhi defamed the entire Modi community by his comments.Updated: Oct 10, 2019 16:15 IST
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Thursday appeared before a Surat magisterial court in a defamation case pertaining to his remark “why do all thieves have Modi surname” and pleaded not guilty.
The Congress leader was summoned by the court based on a complaint of criminal defamation filed by Surat (West) BJP MLA Purnesh Modi. The complainant has said that Gandhi defamed the entire Modi community by his comments.
Addressing a public rally in the run-up to the April-May Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi had allegedly said, “Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi, they all have a common surname. How come all thieves have Modi as common surname?”
After pleading not guilty, Gandhi sought permanent exemption from future court proceedings in this case, his lawyer Kirit Panwala said.
“The plea (defamation suit) was filed in Gujarati. I translated it in the court after which he (Gandhi) pleaded not guilty. We then moved an application for permanent exemption from appearance (for Gandhi),” Panwala said.
As complainant’s lawyer Hasmukh Lalwala objected to plea for permanent exemption, the court fixed December 10 as the date of reply to the application. The court exempted Gandhi from personal appearance for the hearing on December 10.
The former Congress president, meanwhile, said that his “political opponents” were “desperate” to silence him.
“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,” he said in a Twitter post.
Throwing its weight behind Gandhi, the Congress said that “such transparent attempts to silence the truth will never work”.
“Shri@RahulGandhi arrives at the District & Sessions court in Surat to appear in a defamation case filed by the BJP. Such transparent attempts to silence the truth will never work, the fight against lies & hatred will always be strengthened by sincerity & love. #SatyamevJayate,” the party tweeted.
First Published: Oct 10, 2019 16:14 IST