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Rahul dares RSS, says ready to face defamation trial

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A defiant Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday reiterated his controversial comment blaming Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) men for killing Mahatma Gandhi and said that he was ready to face trial in a defamation case over the remark.

The RSS has demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi in return for withdrawing the defamation case filed against Rahul by RSS worker Rajesh Madhav Kunte.

However, Rahul has withdrawn a request for the case to be dismissed and said that he was ready to face a defamation trial.

"I stand by what I said," Rahul told the court through his lawyer, former union minister Kapil Sibal.

On August 24, Rahul told the Supreme Court he had not blamed the RSS as an organisation for Gandhi’s assassination but only people linked to it following a defamation case filed against him.

The Congress leader, in his election speech at Sonale in Maharashtra on March 6, 2015, had allegedly blamed the RSS for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.

The apex court bench, while taking note of Rahul Gandhi’s statement before the high court, said that it can dispose of the matter after the Congress leader’s "unequivocal" statement that he had not blamed the RSS as an organisation for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, but only the people linked with it.

However, the court deferred the hearing till September 1 as senior counsel Umesh R Lalit, appearing for the RSS worker, wanted time to take instructions from Kunte.

The Supreme Court has also rejected Rahul Gandhi&’s request to be exempted from appearing in person in the lower court handling the case.