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Defamation case: Rahul Gandhi pleads not guilty before Surat court, says ‘opponents out to silence me’

FE Online

Rahul Gandhi defamation case: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday defended his derogatory remarks directed at PM Narendra Modi during the Lok Sabha elections campaign. Appearing before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate BH Kapadia in Surat, Rahul pleaded not guilty. He also moved a plea for a permanent exemption from future court proceedings in this case.

The court set December 10 as the date of reply to the application and observed that Rahul was not required to be present in court for the next hearing.

Minutes before he appeared before the court, Rahul took to Twitter to say that cases against him are only a part of a bigger ploy by his opponents to silence him.

"I am in Surat today to appear in a defamation case filed against me by my political opponents, desperate to silence me," he said.

"I am grateful for the love & support of the Congress workers who have gathered here to express their solidarity with me," Rahul added.

The case was filed against him by BJP MLA from Surat-West, Purnesh Modi for making a derogatory remark against PM Narendra Modi involving his surname during the Lok Sabha poll campaign earlier this year. The case was filed under section 499/500 of the CrPC.

In his complaint, the BJP MLA alleged that Rahul had defamed the entire Modi community with his remarks. At the time of admitting the suit, the court had held that there was a prima facie case of criminal defamation against Rahul.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi is also scheduled to appear before an Ahmedabad court in connection with a case filed by the Ahmedabad District Co-operative Bank in which BJP president Amit Shah is a director. Earlier, Rahul had appeared before a Bhiwandi court in Mumbai for derogatory remarks against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.