Rahul Gandhi on Thursday pleaded not guilty in connection with a defamation case filed against him in 2017 for allegedly linking journalist Gauri Lankesh's murder with the "BJP-RSS ideology".
Rahul, who has publically announced his resignation as Congress president, was released on a surety amount of Rs 15,000 by a Mazgaon Metropolitan Magistrate court. Former MP Eknath Gaikwad paid the surety for Rahul.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Rahul said that the "attacks were on" and that he was "enjoying the fight". "It is a battle of ideology. I stand with the poor, the farmers. The fight will continue. I will fight 10 times harder than in the last five years," he said.
#WATCH Rahul Gandhi after appearing in a Mumbai court in a defamation case: I didn't say anything in court,I had to appear. It's a fight of ideology,I'm standing with the poor & farmers.'Aakraman ho raha hai, mazaa aa raha hai'. I'll fight 10 times harder than I did in last 5 yrs pic.twitter.com/AoeQJfdTBU
— ANI (@ANI) July 4, 2019
In February this year, RSS Swayam Sevak Dhrutiman Joshi had filed a defamation case against Rahul, Sonia Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for defaming the RSS following the death of Gauri Lankesh.
Later, the Mazgaon court had issued summons to Rahul and Yechury for questioning in connection with the case. The court had, however, dismissed the complaint against Sonia and the CPM. Lankesh, a senior journalist, was murdered at her residence in Bengaluru on 5 September, 2017.
In the complainant, Joshi stated that Rahul, 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."
Joshi said that Yechury was also heard and seen saying that it was the RSS ideology and the RSS men who killed Lankesh. "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 in Maharashtra.
Another RSS activist Rajesh Kunte had in 2014 filed a defamation case against Rahul over a statement made by him at an election rally, where he had blamed the RSS for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jul 04, 2019 12:27:21 IST