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Surat: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who had been abroad for few days, on Thursday appeared before a magisterial court here and pleaded not guilty in a criminal defamation case filed against him for his “why do all thieves share Modi surname” remarks.
Gandhi appeared before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate B H Kapadia and pleaded not guilty when asked by the court whether he accepts the charges, levelled against him by BJP legislator from Surat-West, Purnesh Modi.
After Gandhi’s plea was recorded, his lawyers moved an application seeking permanent exemption from personal appearance. When Modi’s lawyers raised objection to the exemption plea, the court said it will decide on the plea on December 10.
The court said Gandhi is not required to remain present during the next hearing on that date.
In his complaint, the BJP legislator had alleged the Congress leader had defamed the entire Modi community with his remarks, made during the Lok Sabha campaign this year.
The court, while admitting the suit, had held that there was a prima facie case of criminal defamation against the Lok Sabha member from Wayanad.
The Congress leader is scheduled to attend another court hearing in Ahmedabad on Friday in a similar case filed against him by RSS/BJP workers. (PTI)