Congress leader Surjewala gets bail in defamation case

Congress leader Surjewala gets bail in defamation case

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. (PTI Photo)

Congress national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala was on Wednesday granted bail by a metropolitan court here in Gujarat in a criminal defamation court filed by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative (ADC) Bank.

Additional Metropolitan Magistrate N B Munshi granted bail to Surjewala on a bond of Rs 15,000 after he pleaded not guilty.

The Congress leader also moved an application for a permanent exemption from appearance in the court, which will be heard on February 15.

The criminal defamation suit under Indian Penal Code Sections 499 and 500 was filed in August last year by the ADC Bank, in which Union Home Minister Amit Shah is a director.

The defamation suit was filed by the ADC Bank after Surjewala, in a press statement in June last year, alleged that it was involved in a "scam" of swapping scrapped notes of Rs 745.58 crore with a valid currency within five days of demonetisation in 2016.

This defamation suit is separate from the one in which Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is an accused of making the same allegation through a tweet.

The court conducted an inquiry under section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure before summoning Gandhi and Surjewala in separate suits filed by the bank.

Surjewala delayed appearing in the case due to various engagements, after which the court issued a bailable warrant against him in October.

Rahul Gandhi was in July this year granted bail in another criminal defamation suit filed by the ADC Bank and its chairman Ajay Patel on the ground that he levelled "false and defamatory allegations" against the bank.

Gandhi and Surjewala's allegations were based on the reply given by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development to an RTI query of a Mumbai-based activist.

The ADC Bank and Patel have denied that the bank exchanged such a huge amount of swapped currency, as alleged.

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