A local court in Bihar has summoned Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to appear before it on April 12 in a 2019 defamation case filed against him by Rajya Sabha MP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushil Kumar Modi over his remark, “all thieves have Modi surname”.
The MP/MLA court at Patna directed the Congress leader to record his statements under Section 313 of CrPC.
The Rajya Sabha MP had filed a criminal complaint through Senior Advocate and former Additional Solicitor General of India S.D. Sanjay against Gandhi under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (Defamation), contending that it was a derogatory remark targetting people having the ‘Modi’ surname.
The Congress leader had made the alleged remark during a political campaign in Kolar, Karnataka in April, 2019. He had said, “Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi. How come all the thieves have ‘Modi’ as a common surname?”
Earlier on March 23, a local court in Surat district of Gujarat had convicted Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in the same defamation case.
The Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate H.H. Varma sentenced Gandhi to two years in jail and also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 after finding him guilty under Sections 499 (Defamation) and 500 (punishment for Defamation) IPC.
He has also secured bail in the case. The court granted a month’s time to the Wayanad MP, so that he could file an appeal against the order.
Gandhi’s conviction under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), both of which warrant a maximum sentence of two years, lead to his disqualification from the Parliament, as per a Supreme Court order of 2013.
BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Ishvarbhai Modi had filed a defamation suit against Gandhi in Surat, alleging that the remark had defamed the entire Modi community. On the basis of his complaint, a case was registered against Gandhi at Adajan Police Station in Surat district.