Bhiwandi court frames charges against Rahul Gandhi in RSS defamation case; Congress chief pleads ‘not guilty’

A court in Bhiwandi in Maharashtra’s Thane district framed defamation charges against Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday in a criminal defamation case filed by RSS worker Rajesh Kunte.
According to ANI, the charges were framed under sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation) of the Indian Penal Code. Rahul Gandhi reportedly pleaded not guilty. The court set 10 August as the next date of hearing.
Addressing the media after leaving the Bhiwandi court, Rahul accused the government filing cases against him, but not having answers on rising unemployment and saving farmers. “This is a government for the rich. The media shows the bright side. The prime minister does not speak on the issue like unemployment and protection of farmers. He doesn’t have answers to rising fuel prices. They keep putting cases on me. They can keep doing so; it doesn’t matter. This is my fight for ideology. We will fight them and win,” he said.
However, Kunte alleged that the Congress chief was being given “special treatment”. “I am complainant and still was not allowed inside court without being frisked but Rahul and his people went in without frisking despite him being accused. Police was biased,” ANI quoted him as saying.According to CNN-News18, the judge, while reading out charges, said Rahul defamed the complainant’s organisation RSS through his remarks during a rally in 2014. The judge said that the Congress chief harmed RSS’ reputation.
Kunte had filed the case after the Congress president’s speech at an election rally, in which the latter had alleged that the RSS was behind the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. He had also said the Hindutva organisation opposed Sardar Patel.
Rahul had moved the Supreme Court in 2015 seeking a stay on Bombay High Court’s order dismissing his plea for quashing the defamation case. In 2016, the court said Rahul must either apologise or face trial for his remarks. “You can’t make wholesale denunciation of an organisation,” the top court had said.The Gandhi scion arrived in Mumbai on Tuesday morning for a two-day visit to Maharashtra.
He is expected to address party workers at 2.30 pm on Tuesday in Mumbai’s Goregaon area as part of ‘Project Shakti’,