Tharoor terms BJPs charge of Congress exerting pressure on judiciary absurd

Tharoor terms BJP's charge of Congress exerting pressure on judiciary "absurd"

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday dismissed as “absurd” the BJP’s charge that the opposition party exerted “undue pressure” on the judiciary as its leaders accompanied Rahul Gandhi to a Surat court for filing an appeal against his conviction in a criminal defamation case, asserting that one who attends the court is not a source of pressure.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju alleged that the decision of Congress leaders to accompany Gandhi to the Surat court, where he filed the appeal against his conviction in the 2019 case, was a way of trying to exert “undue pressure” on the judiciary.

Also read: Rahul Gandhi’s 2-year sentence stayed; no impact on disqualification as MP

‘Attending does not put pressure’

Asked about the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) charge, Tharoor said, “That is an absurd allegation. First of all, who attends the court is not a source of pressure.”

“If at all there is a source of pressure on the judiciary, I think we can all guess where that is likely to come from,” the former Union minister told PTI.

“Who comes to the court is not going to decide a case, it is what is argued in the court that is going to decide and that is essentially for us the principal reason why it has taken a week for the lawyers to prepare a very robust and sound defence,” Tharoor said.

Gandhi granted bail

Gandhi filed his appeal in the Surat sessions court in the afternoon against his conviction in the 2019 case. The court, which will hear the matter on April 13, granted him bail.

The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Varma in Surat convicted the 52-year-old former Congress chief on March 23 and sentenced him to two years in jail in the criminal defamation case filed against him over his “Modi surname” remarks.

The defamation case

The case was filed against Gandhi on a complaint from BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi for the Congress leaders alleged remark: “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?”

Also read: Tharoor: Cong ‘fulcrum’ of Oppn unity but let a smaller party be convenor

Gandhi, who served as an MP from Wayanad in Kerala, made the remark while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, 2019, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.

The two-year jail term invited his disqualification from Parliament under provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

(With Agency inputs)

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