Sentenced to 2 years in jail
Congress leader granted bail; has 30 days to appeal
New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison this morning, in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname by a Court in Surat, Gujarat. Rahul was present in the Court when the verdict was pronounced.
However, he was granted bail and his sentence was suspended for 30 days to let him appeal the decision in a higher Court.
The case was filed against Rahul Gandhi by BJP MLA and former Gujarat Minister, Purnesh Modi, for saying, “How come all thieves have the common surname Modi?”
The Lok Sabha (LS) MP from Wayanad made the remarks while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka, ahead of the 2019 LS polls, targeting PM Modi over his last name which he shares with fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi.
The complainant claimed that the controversial remark defamed the entire Modi community.
As per the Representation of the People Act, a person sentenced to imprisonment of two years or more shall be disqualified ‘from the date of such conviction’ and remain disqualified for another six years after serving time.
Rahul 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. The maximum possible punishment under this section is two years. Before that, the Congress MP had appeared in the Court to plead not guilty to charges levelled against him.
The final arguments resumed in the case last month after the Gujarat High Court vacated its stay on the proceedings imposed on plea by the complainant, demanding Gandhi’s personal appearance.
Reacting to the news, Purnesh Modi, the former Gujarat Minister, said he welcomed the judgement.
In his first comment after the verdict, Rahul Gandhi quoted Mahatma Gandhi, tweeting in Hindi, “My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, non-violence the means to get it.”
His sister and Congress leader, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, tweeted: “Scared rulers are pulling out all stops to suppress the voice of Rahul Gandhi. My brother has never been afraid, nor will he ever be. He will continue to speak the truth. Will continue to raise the voice of the people of the country. The power of truth and the love of crores of countrymen are with him.”
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