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RSS defamation case: Rahul Gandhi pleads not guilty, released on surety of Rs 15,000

By Anuj Cariappa
|

Mumbai, July 04: Rahul Gandhi has appeared before a court here on Thursday morning in connection with a defamation case filed by an RSS worker against him for allegedly linking journalist Gauri Lankesh's killing with the "BJP-RSS ideology". He has pleaded ' not guilty' and has been released on Rs 15,000 surety amount.

The Mazgaon metropolitan magistrate's court, in February, issued summons to Gandhi and CPM leader Sitaram Yechury in response to a private complaint filed by Dhrutiman Joshi, a lawyer and worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

File photo of Rahul Gandhi

Joshi had filed the complaint in 2017 against Rahul Gandhi, the then Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its general secretary Yechury.

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A private complaint is filed to seek directions from the court to police to investigate a particular matter.

Lankesh was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru in September 2017, allegedly by members of a right-wing extremist group.

Joshi alleged that within 24 hours of her death, Rahul Gandhi told reporters that "anybody who speaks against the ideology of the BJP, against the ideology of the RSS, is pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed."

The complaint also alleged that Yechury stated that it was the RSS' ideology and RSS people who killed the journalist who was known for trenchant criticism of right-wing politics.

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The court issued summons against Rahul Gandhi and Yechury but dismissed the complaint against Sonia Gandhi and the CPM, saying a party cannot be held liable for comments made by individuals.

Rahul Gandhi is facing another defamation case at Bhiwandi in neighbouring Thane district, filed by a local RSS worker, for allegedly blaming the Sangh for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.

Meanwhile, Congress supporters are seen outside the Mumbai court.

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