Former party chief Rahul Gandhi will file an appeal against a Gujarat court verdict that held him guilty in a 2019 criminal defamation case, said the Congress on Thursday (March 23). The party also alleged that he was being “punished” for raising his voice for the truth.
A court in Surat sentenced Rahul to two years in jail for allegedly making a remark, “How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?” A case had been filed at that time against Rahul after a complaint was filed by BJP MLA Purnesh Modi.
The court also granted Rahul bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court, his lawyer Babu Mangukiya said.
Also read: Rahul Gandhi pleads not guilty of defamation over “thieves-Modi” remark
Congress leaders slam verdict
Several Congress leaders, including party president Mallikarjun Kharge and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, spoke out angrily on the matter. “A scared machinery of power is trying to suppress the voice of Rahul Gandhi through saam, daam, dand, bhed (every trick in the book),” Priyanka Gandhi said in Hindi on Twitter.
“My brother has never been afraid, nor will he ever be. He has lived is life speaking the truth, will continue to speak the truth. Will continue to raise the voice of the people of the country,” she said.
Saying that an appeal will be filed in the matter, Kharge slammed the BJP. If they point one finger at others, there are four fingers pointed at them also, he said on Twitter.
Also read: Rahul Gandhi gets 2 years in jail in 2019 defamation case; granted bail
The Congress said in a tweet in Hindi, “Everyone knows, Rahul Gandhi ji is raising his voice against a dictator. Showing the courage to call a wrong, a wrong. The dictator is rattled by this courage. He is trying to intimidate sometimes via ED, sometimes via police, sometimes via case, sometimes via punishment,” the party said.
“We will fight and win,” the party said.
Reacting to the development, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “This is new India, if you raise your voice against injustice, then ED-CBI, police, FIR will be imposed.
Rahul Gandhi ji is also being punished for speaking the truth, for raising his voice against a dictator,” Ramesh said.
The law of the country gives an opportunity of appeal to Rahul Gandhi and he will exercise this right, he said.