Bhiwandi court frames charges against Rahul Gandhi, Congress President pleads ‘not guilty’

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Bhiwandi court in Thane on Tuesday (10 June) framed charges against Congress President Rahul Gandhi in a criminal defamation case filed by Rajesh Kunte of Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey

The defamation case was filed in 2014, against Gandhi, who had, in a speech, allegedly claimed that the RSS was responsible for the murder of Mahatma Gandhi.

“The RSS people had killed (Mahatma) Gandhi,” the Congress President had reportedly said at an election rally.

On Tuesday, Gandhi appeared before the Bhiwandi court at 11 am, where the judge read out the charges and said, “You defamed complainant’s organisation that is RSS and said that RSS ke logon ne goli maari aur Sardar Patel ne likha hai (RSS worker fired the short and Sardar Patel had written that). The reputation of complainant and organisation was harmed… do you plead guilty?”

The Congress President pleaded not guilty to the charges. “I plead not guilty,” Rahul Gandhi told the court.

With his admission of non-guilt, the Congress President now stands to face trial in the court in connection with the case. Charges against Gandhi have been framed sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code.

Gandhi arrived in Mumbai earlier on Tuesday for his two-day Maharashtra visit. During the visit, Gandhi is slated to meet party works and interact with its corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, reported PTI.

However, the Congress president’s itinerary makes no mention of a meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, contrary to previous media reports.

On Wednesday, Gandhi is expected to meet the family of Dadaji Khobragade who is credited to be the rural inventor who brought a revolution to rice farming, at Chandrapur in Vidarbha. 78-year-old  Khobragade passed away earlier in June after a prolonged illness. Post the meeting with the kin, Gandhi is scheduled to return to Delhi, reported PTI.

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