Thane (Maha): A court at Bhiwandi in the district today asked the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to appear before it latest by May 8 in a defamation case filed against him by an RSS functionary for allegedly saying that Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin was an RSS member. Magistrate D P Kale had sought Rahul’s presence before the court on or before May 8, the next date of hearing. Rahul’s lawyers gave an undertaking that he would be present on or before May 8.
The Congress leader is currently on a sabbatical and his whereabouts have become a subject of speculation and commentary in the media. He was exempted from appearing in the court for subsequent hearings following an application by his lawyers Narayan Iyer and P K Dhakephalkar. Rajesh Kunte, the complainant, claims that the Congress leader had said at an election rally at Sonale in the district on March 6 last year that an RSS worker killed Mahatma Gandhi.
Kunte is secretary of the Bhiwandi unit of RSS. After he lodged the complaint, the magistrate had issued a notice to Rahul, seeking his appearance. The latter moved the Bombay High Court seeking exemption from appearance and also quashing of the complaint. However, the High Court dismissed the petition last month observing that Rahul “prima facie” intended to harm the reputation of RSS through his allegation.