Rahul Gandhi pleads not guilty in defamation case, gets bail

Ahmedabad: The Metropolitan Court in Ahmedabad on Friday granted bail to Congress president Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case filed by the Ahmedabad District Co-operative Bank which is headed by Union Home Minister and BKP president Amit Shah. The court fixed the next hearing for September 7. The bail was granted on a personal bond of Rs 15,000.

Gandhi appeared before judge NB Munshi and pleaded not guilty to the charges of defamation. Last year in August, two separate criminal defamation cases were filed against Rahul and party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala for their remark that the had exchanged Rs 750 crore in just five days during demonetisation, and was repeated during the Lok Sabha elections campaign earlier this year.

Talking to the media thereafter Gandhi, who is facing several defamation cases in different parts of the country including in Bihar, Maharashtra and other states, said he was thankful to his opponents in the RSS and the BJP for providing him with opportunities to take his ideological battle against them to the public. “The more you attack me, the more resolute will be my battle. And I will not be cowed down by such attacks that may make me run from pillar to post. I will fight it out,” he said.

"I’m in Ahmedabad today, to appear in another case filed against me by my political opponents in the RSS/BJP. I thank them for providing me these opportunities to take my ideological battle against them to the public. Satyameva Jayate," he said in a tweet after reaching Ahmedabad.

Rahul was in the court premises for over 35 minutes and was accompanied by the veteran party leader and advisor Ahmed Patel, the Congress in-charge of the Gujarat affairs Rajiv Satav, former state president Arjun Modhvadia, and others. The small court room which hardly had the capacity to seat about 30 people, was overcrowded with more than 100 people standing on their toes to hear Rahul responding to questions.

Earlier Gandhi was given a tumultuous reception by the Congress workers when he arrived at the Ahmedabad airport to appear before the court. Hundreds of party workers also waited on the route and near the court premises through which he passed to reach the court in the city.

After he was granted bail, Gandhi had series of meetings with the Congress leaders in the state including a separate meeting with the party MLAs. The party sources said Gandhi urged the leaders to take necessary damage control measures to check desertions by the party MLAs swelling the BJP ranks. Already eight elected Congress MLAs have resigned from the party since the December, 2017.

- RK MISRA

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