A local court in Bhiwandi on Wednesday set April 23 as the new date for framing of charges against Congress president Rahul Gandhi in connection with a defamation case filed by a functionary of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 2014.
As Rahul Gandhi wasn’t present in court today, the court allowed the exemption application by his lawyer but asked the Congress president to be present on April 23 for the hearing.
A localRSS functionary, Rajesh Kunte, had filed the case against Gandhi for claiming at an election rally on March 6, 2014, that the right-wing organisation had killed Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. “RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him…They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji,” Rahul Gandhi had said then.
Rahul Gandhi had in September 2016, withdrawn his petition filed in the apex court challenging the case and said he would face the trial.
Meanwhile, The Indian Express (IE) reported that another defamation case was filed by an RSS swayamsevak and lawyer in Mumbai against Rahul Gandhi along with former party president Sonia Gandhi and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury for allegedly linking journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder to the RSS.
Journalist Lankesh was killed on September 6 by unidentified assailants at her residence in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
The petition by Mumbai-based advocate Dhrutiman Joshi was filed in the Kurla magistrate’s court. Joshi has referred to statements attributed to Rahul and Yechury that were reported in the media in the days after the murder. Both were critical of the RSS and alleged the organisation’s ideology resulted in Lankesh’s murder.