Gujarat BJP MLA Purnesh Modi, the complainant in the “Modi surname” case in which Rahul Gandhi was convicted and sentenced to a two-year prison term, will file his reply in a sessions court in Surat on Tuesday (April 11), his lawyer has said. The Congress leader has filed a petition for a stay on his conviction in the defamation case.
A Surat metropolitan court sentenced Gandhi to two years in jail on March 23 after holding him guilty over his 2019 remark at a Karnataka poll rally about “how come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?”
Gandhi, who was disqualified as a Lok Sabha MP on March 24, filed an appeal in the sessions court on April 3 claiming his conviction by the magistrate court was erroneous, patently perverse, and that he was sentenced to attract disqualification as a Member of Parliament.
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Hearing on plea on April 13
Additional Sessions Judge RP Mogera on April 3 granted bail to Gandhi and scheduled the hearing on his plea for stay on conviction on April 13 after issuing notice to Purnesh Modi and the Gujarat government.
The sessions court, at the time, had also directed the respondents to file a reply, if any, before the next returnable date and provide a copy of it to the counsel for the accused on or before April 11.
“We will file the reply on Gandhi’s plea for stay on conviction on April 11,” Purnesh Modi’s lawyer Ketan Reshamwala said on Monday.
The Surat West MLA had filed a criminal defamation case against Gandhi for the latter’s “Modi surname and thieves” remark made at a rally in Karnataka’s Kolar on April 13, 2019, during the Lok Sabha election campaign.
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Gandhi was disqualified under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which holds that an MP or MLA convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years shall be disqualified from the date of conviction.
(With agency inputs)