After earning two brownie points – one from the US and the other from Germany, the princes of Congress party – Shri Rahul Gandhi finally made up his mind to do the right thing – to go to Surat Sessions court (next level up from the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM)) to seek redressal of his legal and political woes.
But not without turning it into a political roadshow with didi Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and three chief Ministers – Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu of Himachal Pradesh and Bhupesh Bhagel of Chhattisgarh accompanying him.
He is challenging his conviction and two-year sentence in a criminal defamation case brought against him for defaming the ‘Modi’ community. His conviction has led to him being automatically disqualified from being member of parliament, which in turn led to him being served an eviction notice to vacate his official residence within 28 days.
The CJM, after convicting and sentencing him to 2-years imprisonment had granted bail, to enable him, if he so chose, to file an appeal.
Now that the appeal is filed, the sessions court has set the matter for April 13 and also extended his bail to April 13, removing any potential for dramatic arrest developments.
Delivering an election speech on April 13, 2019, Rahul Gandhi got carried away while referring to Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi as fugitives and added raising a question why “all thieves have Modi surname”, which was taken offence to by some with Modi Surname including a BJP politician in Gujarat Purnesh Modi, the complainant in the case.
Another BJP politician Sushil Kumar Modi, Bihar’s former deputy chief minister have also filed criminal defamation case against Rahul Gandhi in Bihar. Rahul Gandhi has been summoned to record his statement in the matter on April 12.
ये ‘मित्रकाल’ के विरुद्ध, लोकतंत्र को बचाने की लड़ाई है।
इस संघर्ष में, सत्य मेरा अस्त्र है, और सत्य ही मेरा आसरा! pic.twitter.com/SYxC8yfc1M
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 3, 2023
April is going to be a busy month for the Congress leader, and perhaps his extended family of chief ministers and a bigger caravan of Congress workers will be accompanying him this time.
The Congress and its legal team have been up in arms ever since the maximum penalty of 2-years imprisonment was pronounced by the CJM, convicting Rahul Gandhi of having committed the crime of criminal defamation, defaming Purnesh Modi, the complainant.
The judge took the view that Rahul Gandhi had not only criminally defamed the complainant Purnesh Modi but the entire 13 crore strong Modi community of India.
Giving his reasons in the 168-page judgment, Judge Harish Hasmukhbhai Varma took the view that Rahul Gandhi’s stature as a Member of Parliament (MP), guarantees a much greater impact to whatever he says.
ये सच की लड़ाई है, रुकेगी नहीं! pic.twitter.com/xeqJeQzmPT
— Armaan (@Mehboobp1) April 3, 2023
Thus, the judge opined, Rahul Gandhi should have exercised restraint.
“The accused had taken the reference of the surname of the current Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, to satisfy his political greed and insulted and defamed 13 crore people living in the whole of India having the surname ‘Modi'” the judge held.
The Congress party claims the quantum of maximum sentence – 2-years imprisonment and no less, was imposed by the Surat Court as part of a larger conspiracy to silence/remove Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha as the Modi government was finding it difficult to answer the difficult questions Rahul Gandhi was asking on Adani, a friend of prime minister Narendra Modi.
The Surat Sessions Court, hearing Rahul Gandhi, said it will hear his plea for suspension of conviction on April 13 after the complainant Purnesh Modi is notified of the appeal and has had a chance to file his reply.
The complainant (now the respondent) Purnesh Modi has to file his reply by April 10.