Rahul Gandhi convicted in 2019 defamation case over ‘Modi’ remarks by Surat court, secures bail

Rahul Gandhi defamation case: The Surat court, however, suspended the two-year jail term to allow Gandhi to appeal against his conviction.

rahul gandhi, congress
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (File photo: IE)

The Surat District Court on Thursday held Congress leader Rahul Gandhi guilty in the criminal defamation case filed against him over his alleged ‘Modi surname’ remark made in 2019. The court sentenced him to two years of imprisonment in the defamation case. He was later granted bail by the court, reported news agency ANI.

However, the court stayed the two-year sentence awarded to Gandhi for a period of 30 days in order to allow him the opportunity to appeal against his conviction in a higher court.

Gandhi reached Surat in Gujarat today morning, where the court delivered its verdict in the 2019 case. The case pertains to his remarks made during a rally at Kolar in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections where he had allegedly remarked: “How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?”.

The case was filed by BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi.

The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Varma had last week concluded hearing final arguments from both sides and had set March 23 as the verdict day, Gandhi’s lawyer Kirit Panwala had said.

Senior state Congress leaders, including GPCC president Jagdish Thakor, legislature party leader Amit Chavda, senior leader Arjun Modhwadia, AICC in-charge of Gujarat Raghu Sharma, were at Surat airport to receive Gandhi.

A huge number of party functionaries assembled at various spots in the city as a show of strength and support for Gandhi, with posters extolling him as ‘Sher-e-Hindustan’ (lion of Hindustan) and placards declaring that the “Congress will not bow before the dictatorship of the BJP” on display.

Gandhi had last appeared before the Surat court in the case, filed under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 and 500 (dealing with defamation), in October 2021 to record his statement.

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.

First published on: 23-03-2023 at 11:08 IST