Rahul Gandhi gets bail in defamation case

Rahul Gandhi gets bail in defamation case

Rahul Gandhi (PTI File Photo)

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday appeared before a metropolitan court here in connection with a criminal defamation case filed by Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADC) and its chairman Ajay Patel. 

The courtroom of additional chief metropolitan magistrate NB Munshi was packed with lawyers, senior Congress leaders including national treasurer Ahmed Patel, state president Amit Chavda, leader of opposition in Gujarat assembly Paresh Dhanani among others. The proceeding followed in a chaotic order with many people recording the proceeding in their cell phone despite court raising objection. 

During the proceeding, the magistrate asked Gandhi his name, age and other details. The magistrate also asked Gandhi if he would plead guilty in the defamation case or defend himself. Gandhi responded that he will not plead guilty and would defend himself. 

Gandhi also had to file an application for bail after lawyers of complainant contended that they didn't have objection to his bail but he must file a plea. Court asked for Rs50,000 bail bond but following Gandhi's lawyers request the amount was reduced to Rs 15,000. Subsequently, he was granted bail. 

The ADC bank and its president Ajay Patel have filed separate cases against Gandhi and his party colleague Randeep Surjewala for their alleged remarks that ADC is involved in a "national scam." 

Following the application, the metro court had ordered an inquiry under section 202 of code of criminal procedure and later issued summons to Gandhi and Surjewala. Surjewala is yet to appear. 

According to the complaint, on June 22 last year, Surjewala in a press conference made allegation that "in first five days of demonetization Rs745 crore was exchanged by the bank and that it is a big national scam." 

Surjewala and then Congress president Rahul Gandhi also tweeted that "...in five days Rs745 crore were exchanged during demonetisation and that the party became richer by 80%."

The complainant defended themselves that not a single penny went anywhere from the bank and therefore such statements are "liable for criminal defamation."

The Congress had attacked BJP citing an RTI reply that ADC bank had received highest amount of Rs745 crore worth demonetised notes in just five days of demonetisation.

Rahul Gandhi from his twitter handle @RahulGandhi had written, "Congratulations Amit Shah ji, Director, Ahmedabad Dist. Cooperative Bank, on your bank winning 1st prize in the conversion of old notes to new race. 750 Cr in 5 days!" It further added, "millions of India whose lives were destroyed by Demonetisation, salute your achievement."

The tweet also had a picture of Amit Shah on which it was written, "THE DIRECTOR of the bank that collected the highest number of demonetised notes... The PRESIDENT of the party that got 80% richer after demonetisation."

Union home minister Amit Shah is one of the directors of the ADC bank.