Today Rahul Gandhi’s counsel argued in Surat court of Gujarat’s that the trial in a defamation case over Rahul Gandhi Congress leader’s “Modi surname” remark was unfair and there was no need to award maximum punishment in the defamation case. The counsel made the argument during a ongong hearing on Gandhi’s plea seeking a stay on his conviction in the defamation case.
On March 23 a metropolitan magistrate’s court of Surat awarded Rahul Gandhi to 2 years jail term by holding him guilty for his remark “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname”, made at an election campaign rally on April 13, 2019.
BJP Bharatiya Janata Party MLA and petitioner in the case, Purnesh Modi, in his reply filed earlier in the same court, had objected against Gandhi’s plea for a stay on conviction saying the Congress leader is a “repetitive offender” who is in the habit of making defamatory statements.
The judgement by the magistrate was “strange” because the trial court judge “made a hotchpotch of all the evidence on record”, Cheema said. “It was an unfair trial. The entire case was based on electronic evidence, wherein I made a speech during elections and a person sitting 100 kms away filed a complaint after watching that in the news…There was no need for maximum punishment in thie case,” argued counsel on behalf of Gandhi. He also said that Gandhi’s unconditional apology to the Supreme Court (in Rafale contempt case) was wrongly quoted with the case by petitioner Modi.
Arguing against Gandhi’s plea for a stay on conviction, Purnesh Modi’s lawyer said his client felt offended because Gandhi had tried to defame all people with Modi surname through his remarks. “He (Gandhi) was the president of the second largest party at the time of making the speech. His speech made a huge impact on the people of India and he also tried to sensationalise his speech,” said lawyer. “In his speech, Rahul Gandhi spoke about PM Narendra Modi. But he didn’t stop there and went beyond it. He then said “Saare choron ke naam Modi hi kyu hai? Dhoondho aur bhi Modi milenge (Why are all thieves have Modi surname? If you search, you will find more such Modis). My client was offended by this part of the speech and thus the complaint,” Modi’s lawyer added.
The state government, which has been made a party by the court, is also expected to make their submissions after recess. Gandhi has filed an appeal before Judge Mogera against the verdict of March 23. He prayed for a stay on the conviction in the meantime. In his appeal, Gandhi has termed his conviction as “erroneous” and patently perverse.
The former MP from Wayanad constituency in Kerala was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail by the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate H H Varma on March 23 in a defamation case over his Modi surname remarks in 2019 in Karnataka.