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Rahul Gandhi sentenced to 2-years in jail in 'Modi Surname' case, Congress fumes

Rahul Gandhi was convicted under IPC sections 499 and 500. The maximum possible punishment under this section is two years. Read More

Thursday March 23, 2023 5:54 PM, IANS

Rahul Gandhi sentenced to 2-years in jail in 'Modi Surname' case, Congress fumes

New Delhi/Surat: Surat district court in Gujarat Thursday convicted Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in a criminal defamation case against him over his alleged 'Modi surname' remark in April 2019.

Gandhi was convicted under IPC sections 499 and 500. The maximum possible punishment under this section is two years.

The Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate H.H. Varma sentenced him to two years in jail and also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 after finding him guilty.

However, on Rahul Gandhi's plea, his sentence has been suspended and bail has been granted to enable him to move an appeal against his conviction within 30 days.

The lawyer representing Rahul Gandhi said that they will move to session court soon.

'Rahul defamed Modi community'

BJP MLA and former Gujarat Minister Purnesh Modi had filed the case against Rahul Gandhi for his alleged "how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?" remarks while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The remarks were video graphed by the video surveillance team and video viewing team of the office of Deputy Commissioner and District Election Officer, Kollar District.

The complainant claimed that the controversial remark was made at a rally at Kolar in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections which defamed the entire Modi community.

Chief Judicial Magistrate H.H. Varma last week had concluded hearing the final arguments from both sides and set March 23 to pronounce its judgment.

Gandhi has maintained that there was no mala fide intention on his part when he made the statement in question.

Rahul faces disqualification

Rahul Gandhi after being convicted by Surat court faces disqualification as an MP and may not be able to contest elections if the sentence is not suspended by higher courts.

The Representation of the People Act, 1951 Disqualification on Imprisonment provides that a person will be disqualified if convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more. The person is disqualified for the period of imprisonment and a further six years.

But, there is an exception for sitting members provided in the Act. "There is an exception for sitting members; they have been provided a period of three months from the date of conviction to appeal; the disqualification will not be applicable until the appeal is decided," says the Act.

Not agree with verdict: Kejriwal

Responding to the Gujarat court's decision on Rahul Gandhi's conviction in a criminal defamation case, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, "we respect the court, but do not agree with the verdict'.

In a tweet he said:

"There is a conspiracy to eliminate non-BJP leaders and parties by prosecuting them. We have differences with the Congress, but it is not right to implicate Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case like this. It is the job of the public and the opposition to ask questions. We respect the court but disagree with the decision".

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet:

"This is the new India. If you raise your voice against injustice, then ED-CBI, Police, FIR will be imposed on everyone."

"Rahul Gandhi ji is also being punished for speaking the truth, for raising his voice against the dictator. The law of the country gives an opportunity to appeal to Rahul Gandhi, he will exercise this right. We are not afraid," he added in the same tweet.

Attempt to influence judiciary

Commenting on the court order, the Congress Party said that sentencing of MP Rahul Gandhi to two years of jail by a Surat district court in a defamation case is an attempt to "influence" the judiciary and that "democracy is in danger".

"There is an attempt to suppress the media, there is an attempt to influence the judiciary and they are taking action against the people of different political parties at this level," Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said while reacting on the development.

"We keep saying our democracy is in danger as there is pressure on judiciary, ECI, ED and they're all misused. All decisions are made under influence. Such comments are common. Rahul Gandhi is a courageous man and only he can compete with NDA government," Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said.

Meanwhile, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that he will speak on the matter only after seeing the order.

"I'll see the details of the order before I say anything. Whatever Rahul Gandhi speaks, it always affects Congress party and the entire nation in a negative way. Some Congress MPs told me that because of his attitude, Congress is suffering," Rijiju told mediapersons outside Parliament.


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