Defamation case against Rahul Gandhi: Bhiwandi court adjourns hearing

A court in Thane district on Saturday adjourned the hearing of a defamation case filed against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi by an RSS worker to March 16.

The Wayanad MP had sought postponement of the hearing saying he was busy with his ongoing `Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’.

Magistrate L C Wadikar of the Bhiwandi court accepted the plea and adjourned the hearing, his lawyer Narayan Iyer told PTI.

Gandhi’s application said the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra which started in Manipur on January 14 was likely to culminate in Mumbai on March 20.

He also cited a pending criminal writ petition before the Bombay High Court as a reason for adjournment.

The Congress leader has moved the high court against the magistrate’s order allowing transcripts of his alleged defamatory speech to be exhibited as evidence in the case.

But the magistrate on Saturday noted that the high court had not granted a stay to the proceedings before the trial court.

The criminal defamation case was filed by local Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member Rajesh Kunte over the Congress leader’s alleged statement at an election rally near Bhiwandi on March 6, 2014, that “the RSS people killed (Mahatma) Gandhi.”

He defamed the RSS by making this false claim, the complainant said.

Rahul Gandhi is facing several defamation cases across the country. A court in Surat last year sentenced him to two years in prison in a defamation case, but the conviction was stayed by the Supreme Court later.

A magistrate’s court in Thane city on Friday imposed a cost of Rs 500 on him for condoning delay in the filing of the written statement in a civil defamation suit.

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