Thursday, July 25, 2024

‘Judge was mislead, harsh, bade dheeth ho aap kuch nhi samje’: Rahul Gandhi’s lawyer in court

A sessions court in Surat city of Gujarat on Thursday commenced hearing on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s plea for a stay on his conviction in a defamation case over his “Modi surname” remark in which he has been sentenced to two years in jail.

“At 11:51 am my client is pronounced guilty and within half n hour he is handed over the harshest and maximum punishment. I want to express shock that the trial court for saying ‘Aapko Supreme Court warning diya tha. Bade dheeth ho, aap kuch nhi samje’. I am sorry I am using strong words but yes the judge was misled and was harsh,” Cheema said as reported by Bar and Bench.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA and complainant Purnesh Modi, in his reply filed earlier in the same court, opposed 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. Rahul Gandhi has filed an appeal before Judge Mogera against the verdict. He has also prayed for a stay on the conviction in the meantime. In his appeal, Gandhi has termed his conviction as “erroneous” and patently perverse.

Purnesh Modi — whose complaint about Gandhi’s `why all thieves have Modi surname’ led to the latter’s conviction — filed his affidavit-in-reply on Tuesday. He also accused Gandhi of making “unfair and contemptuous comments” against the court through his aides, associates and Congress leaders. “The accused is in the habit of making such defamatory and irresponsible statements which may either defame others or may hurt the feelings of others, in the name of freedom of speech and political criticism and dissent,” Purnesh Modi stated in his affidavit. 

The accused is “a repetitive offender” (sic) and facing charges for his defamatory utterances elsewhere too, and the Supreme Court had warned him after he tendered apology in one case, said Modi, a former minister in the previous Gujarat government. In his affidavit, Modi cited as many as 11 cases of criminal defamation and one of `promoting enmity between different groups’ (seven of which are currently pending before different courts) that Gandhi is facing or has faced. A metropolitan magistrate’s court in Surat on March 23 sentenced Rahul Gandhi to two years in jail after holding him guilty for his remark “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname”, made during an election rally on April 13, 2019. 

*With agency inputs

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