'I just played sarcasm': Rahul Gandhi records statement in defamation case over 'Modi' surname remark

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday appeared before a court in Gujarat to record his statement on defamation case over Prime Minister Narendra Modi surname remark. While recording his statement, the Wayanad MP said that in his poll speech he had indeed mentioned Modi surname, but that was specifically referring to prime minister Narendra Modi and had no intention to defame any particular community or anyone else.

He told court that his remarks on "Modi surname" during an election rally in 2019 was nothing but "sarcasm". "I didn't mean to target any community. I just played sarcasm during the elections. I don't remember much about this," Rahul Gandhi said. Mr Gandhi was the Congress president when he had made this remark.

Following the incdent, BJP MLA Purnesh Modi had filed a complaint against him in April 2019 under IPC sections 499 and 500 that deal with defamation. In his complaint, the MLA from Surat-West seat had alleged that Rahul Gandhi had defamed the entire Modi community by saying "How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?" while addressing a poll rally in 2019.

Rahul Gandhi was in Surat on Thursday to record his statement with the Surat magisterial court.

His advocate, Kirit Panwala, said, "Rahul Gandhi recorded his final statement with the court today. He said that his mentioning of the Modi surname was just to show the misdeeds of PM Narendra Modi and not to defame anyone else or a particular community. Besides, as far as he knew, there wasn't any community named Modi."

"The complainant tried to stall this recording of Gandhi's final statement by filing three different applications, all of which were rejected by the court. The court observed that those contentions had been addressed in another application filed by the complainant in the Gujarat High court," added Panwala.

"The magistrate has scheduled the next hearing in the case on July 12, where the arguments will begin, as the recording of the statements of the witnesses and the accused is over," informed Panwala.

(With agency inputs)

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