Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi appeared before a lower court in Maharashtra where he is facing proceedings against his alleged comment blaming RSS for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. The court hearing, incidentally, came on Mahatma Gandhi’s 69th death anniversary. The court has now adjourned the proceedings till March 3, when it will record his plea.
Earlier, granting Rahul Gandhi bail on November 16 last year, the court had set the date for hearing today.
Speaking to the press after the short hearing Rahul Gandhi said, “My fight is against the ideology which killed Gandhiji. I remember Gandhiji. My fight is against the ideology which removed his poster from Khadi (KVIC) posters”.
“Gandhiji is in the heart of every Indian. He was killed but his thought can’t be erased,” he added.
Prior to the adjournment, Rahul’s told the court that they have not received the copy of the entire newspaper (which published the news item on the Congress leader) but only the cuttings. However, the complainant’s advocate urged the court that Rahul’s plea may be recorded today but his request was turned down.
Rahul arrived in the court here at around 12.30 PM amid tight security accompanied by senior Congress leaders Ashok Chavan and Sanjay Nirupam, besides party supporters.
The matter had reached court after the case was filed by a local RSS functionary in Bhiwandi. During the heat of 2014 Lok Sabha campaigning in Maharashtra, Rahul Gandhi had allegedly remarked that “RSS people killed Gandhiji”.
The Congress party vice president was issued summons by the lower court earlier last year after it took cognisance of the case filed by a local RSS functionary. The summons were then challenged before the Bombay High Court, which backed the Bhiwandi court’s order and refused to quash the defamation case and summons.
As the matter reached Supreme Court, Rahul Gandhi decided to withdraw his plea expressing his readiness to face the trial instead.
Submitting an affidavit in the apex court earlier last year in September, Rahul Gandhi told that he stood by “every word” of his statement.
During the course of hearing in the Supreme Court, lawyers representing RSS worker Rajesh Kunte had suggested their willingness to withdraw the case if Rahul Gandhi offered public apology over his alleged defamatory comments.
Rahul Gandhi was, however, firm in his stand and insisted on facing the trial in the matter.
Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by a fanatic element Nathuram Godse this day in 1948 just before he was about to go for prayers in Birla House, New Delhi.
(With inputs from the Agencies)