Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday appeared before a trial court in Surat city in Gujarat court in a defamation case filed by a local Bharatiya Janata Party leader and pleaded not guilty. BJP lawmaker Purnesh Modi had filed a complaint against Rahul for his remark “why all thieves share the Modi surname” during Lok Sabha elections campaign earlier this year.
Chief Judicial Magistrate B H Kapadia had in May issued summons to Rahul, former Congress President, after admitting the complaint. After Gandhi’s plea was recorded, his lawyers moved an application seeking a permanent exemption from personal appearance in the next hearings of the court. Modi’s lawyers objected to the exemption plea and the court said it will decide on the plea on December 10. The court, however, said Rahul Gandhi is not required to remain present during the next hearing on that date.
In his complaint, Purnesh Modi had alleged that Rahul Gandhi had defamed the entire Modi community by his remark “how come all thieves have Modi as common surname”. He was referring to an election rally where Rahul Gandhi had asked “Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi...how come they all have Modi as common surname? How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?” Rahul Gandhi will appear in another case in Ahmedabad on Friday. The case has been filed by a BJP corporator Brahmbhatt for the Congress leader’s alleged comment against Indian Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah.