RSS defamation case: Rahul pleads not guilty

RSS defamation case: Rahul pleads not guilty

Congress president Rahul Gandhi. (PTI file photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday pleaded not guilty before a court in the Thane district of Maharashtra on a defamation case filed against him for linking the RSS to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

Addressing a rally on May 6, 2014, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul, the then Congress vice president, said: “RSS ke logon ne Gandhiji ko goli maari". An RSS worker, Rajesh Kunte, later filed a case against him.

On his arrival in Mumbai from New Delhi, Rahul, who was accompanied by Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan and Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, drove to Bhiwandi in Thane district – nearly 55 to 60 km from Mumbai.

Inside the courtroom, when magistrate A I Sheikh asked whether he has received the copy, Rahul said “yes”.

When the magistrate read out charges against him, Rahul said: "I am not guilty."

The defamation case has been filed under Section 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. The next hearing is scheduled for August 10.

“They may file case and cases against me…I am not bothered….my ideological fight will continue…,” Rahul said during a brief interaction with the media after the hearing.

Rahul alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi chooses not to answer the questions he asks. “Whether it is about price rise, about employment or about petrol prices,” he said, adding that a few rich people are running the government.

Rahul's deposition in the case assumes more significance in view of the fact that exactly a week ago, former President Pranab Mukherjee had visited the RSS headquarters in Nagpur and addressed a valedictory session.

In fact, several Congress leaders and functionaries, including Mukherjee's daughter Sharmishta, had disapproved it.