Rahul Gandhi on Thursday plead not guilty in the defamation case filed against him by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker. He was summoned by a Mumbai court in the case. He has been released on a surety of Rs 15,000 and a former MP Eknath Gaikwad has given the surety.
The RSS worker Dhrutiman Joshi had filed a defamation case against Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for defaming the RSS following the death of Gauri Lankesh in Feburary 2019. The Mazgaon Metropolitan Magistrate court had summoned Gandhi and Yechury in the case on Thursday. It had dismissed the complaint against Sonia Gandhi and the CPI(M).
In the complainant, Dhrutiman Joshi stated that Rahul Gandhi, within 24-hours of the murder of the journalist, had criticised the RSS and alleged that "anybody who speaks against the ideology of the BJP, against the ideology of the RSS is pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed."
Lankesh, a senior journalist was murdered at her residence in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017.
For a mere political score, the accused had unnecessarily dragged the name of RSS and it in a move to rake up negative sentiments in the minds of the people against the RSS," the complaint stated. Joshi had requested the court to charge the duo under section 499 (defamation) and section 500 (punishment for defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
This is the second defamation petition against Rahul Gandhi in Maharashtra. Another RSS activist Rajesh Kunte had, in 2014, filed a defamation case against Gandhi over a statement made by him at an election rally, where he had blamed the RSS for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.
(With agency inputs)