Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday appeared before a magisterial court and pleaded not guilty in a criminal defamation case filed against him for his "why do all thieves share the Modi surname" remarks.
In the rally, he is reported to have said that "Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Narendra Modi...how come they all have Modi as a common surname? How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?" The Congress leaders received him at Surat airport and was brought to court where he pleaded not guilty. His lawyer sought permanent exemption from appearance. The move was opposed by complainant BJP MLA Purnesh Modi's lawyer.
After Gandhi's plea was recorded, his lawyers moved an application seeking a permanent exemption from personal appearance in the next hearings. After Modi's lawyers raised an objection to the exemption plea, the court said it will decide on the plea on December 10.
The court said Gandhi is not required to remain present during the next hearing on that date.
I am in Surat today to appear in a defamation case filed against me by my political opponents, desperate to silence me.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 10, 2019
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
On Friday afternoon, Rahul Gandhi is expected to land at Ahmedabad airport to appear in a separate defamation case which has been filed for calling then BJP president Amit Shah, now Union Home Minister, a "murder accused" during the election rally in April this year. It is to be noted that Shah was an accused in Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case from which he was discharged by a special CBI court in December 2014.
(with PTI inputs)