Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will attend the proceedings in a court in Bhiwandi in Maharashtra’s Thane district today in a criminal defamation case filed against him for claiming, at a 2014 election rally, that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had killed Mahatma Gandhi. The case against the Congress vice-president was filed by a local RSS functionary. Rahul reached Mumbai on Tuesday evening. From there he was on his way to the court. Gandhi was accompanied by former Maharashtra Chief Ministers Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan and senior Congress leader Gurudas Kamat, a report said. Addressing a rally in the run-up to the 2014 general elections in the powerloom town on the outskirts of Mumbai, Rahul had claimed, “The RSS people had killed Gandhi.” He had, on 1 September, preferred to face the trial as an accused in the defamation case for his remark against the RSS on the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, submitting before the Supreme Court that he stood by “every word” of his statement.
The Congress vice-president expressed his readiness to face the trial after the apex court refused to interfere with the criminal proceedings pending against him before the trial court. Rahul then withdrew the appeal filed by him against the Bombay High Court judgment refusing to quash the defamation case and summons issued to him by the trial court.
The apex court also declined Rahul’s plea that he be exempted from personal appearance before the Bhiwandi court which had taken cognizance of the complaint of an RSS functionary by summoning him as an accused in the case.