SURAT: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday appeared before a court here in a criminal defamation case filed against him over his remark: Why do all thieves share the Modi surname?
Chief Judicial Magistrate B H Kapadia had in May issued summons to Gandhi after admitting a complaint filed by local BJP MLA Purnesh Modi under IPC sections 499 and 500, which deal with criminal defamation.
During the last hearing in July, the court had granted Gandhi exemption from personal appearance for that hearing and fixed October 10 as the next date of hearing.
In his complaint, the BJP legislator from Surat-West had alleged the Congress leader had defamed the entire Modi community with his remark, made during the Lok Sabha campaign this year.
The court, while admitting the suit, had held that there was a prima facie case of criminal defamation against the Lok Sabha member from Wayanad.
At a campaign rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, Gandhi had said, "Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi… how come they all have Modi as common surname? How come all thieves have Modi as common surname?"
In his complaint, Purnesh Modi had said the Congress leader had defamed the entire Modi community with his statement.
Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda on Tuesday held a meeting with local party leaders in view of Gandhi's visit.