A Surat District Court on Thursday held Rahul Gandhi guilty in a criminal defamation case filed against him over his alleged ‘Modi surname’ remark. The Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Varma pronounced the judgment and sentenced the Congress MP to two years in jail imposing a fine of Rs. 15,000 after finding him guilty. He has also secured bail in the case.
On Rahul Gandhi’s plea, his sentence has been suspended to enable him to move an appeal against his conviction within 30 days.
Earlier, the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Varma had last week concluded hearing final arguments from both sides and had set March 23 (today) to pronounce its judgment in the four-year-old defamation case.
Notably, the Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad made the alleged remarks while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections where he said how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname? After this comment, a complaint was lodged by BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi under section 499 (defamation) and 500 (Punishment for defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju responded on the court’s verdict, “I will see the details of the order before I make any remark. Whatever Rahul Gandhi speaks it always affects Congress party and the entire nation in a negative way. Some Congress MPs told me that because of his attitude, Congress is suffering”.
While Congress leader Lokesh Jindal said, “The entire nation is watching how the ruling government is frustrated and rattled by the opposition. The parliament was first stalled on the remark that was made on foreign soil. Then it came down to Bharat Jodo Yatra and now this judgement. All these actions are not going to stop Rahul Gandhi or the Congress party”.