Rahul Gandhi on Thursday pleaded “not guilty” before a Mumbai court hearing the defamation case filed against him for allegedly linking Gauri Lankesh’s murder with “BJP-RSS ideology”.
Gandhi who appeared before the Mazgaon metropolitan magistrate’s court early today, was was granted bail on surety of Rs. 15,000. Former MP Eknath Gaikwad had given the surety for Rahul Gandhi.
After the hearing, the Congress leader told reporters, “I am being attacked and I am enjoying the fight”.
This comes a day after he made his decison public to quit as the Congress President.
The court had in February, issued summons to Rahul Gandhi and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury in response to a private complaint filed by Dhrutiman Joshi, a lawyer and worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS.
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 Sitaram Yechury.
Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017.
Joshi said 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 said that Sitaram Yechury stated that it was the RSS’ ideology and RSS people who killed the journalist.
The court issued summons against Rahul Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury but dismissed the complaint against Sonia Gandhi and the CPI(M), saying a party cannot be held liable for comments made by individuals.
Gandhi was accompanied by Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Milind Deora.
Meanwhile, 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.