Case filed against Congress leader over his remark on the Modi surname while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections
Cong leader gets 2-year jail sentence, granted bail
A court in Surat in Gujarat on Thursday sentenced Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to two years in jail in a 2019 criminal defamation case filed against him over his “Modi surname” remarks.
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.
Gandhi was present in the court when the verdict was pronounced.
The case was filed against Gandhi for his alleged “how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?” remarks on a complaint lodged by BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi.
The Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad made the remarks while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Reacting to the judgment, complainant and Surat West Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Purnesh Modi said he welcomed the court’s verdict.
The final arguments resumed in the case last month after the Gujarat High Court vacated its stay on proceedings imposed on plea by the complainant demanding Gandhi’s personal appearance.
Reacting to the court order outside Parliament on Thursday, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said the Congress was “suffering” because of Gandhi’s “attitude”. “Whatever Rahul Gandhi says always affects Congress party and the entire nation in a negative way,” he told a news agency, as reported by The Indian Express.
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. Before that, the Congress MP had appeared in the court to plead not guilty to charges levelled against him.
Earlier in the day, 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 had 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.