Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was on Friday granted bail by a court after he pleaded not guilty in a criminal defamation suit filed by Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank.
The defamation suit was filed by the bank against Gandhi after he alleged that it had swapped Rs 750 crore in scrapped currency with valid notes within five days of the announcement of demonetisation on November 8, 2016.
Gandhi on Friday appeared before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate NB Munshi and he pleaded not guilty for the charges levelled against him.
The court granted him bail on a personal bond and surety of Rs 15,000 each. It will next hear the case on September 7.
The defamation suit was filed last year following a tweet by the Congress leader.
ADC Bank and chairman Ajay Patel dragged Gandhi to court saying he had levelled “false and defamatory allegations”.
The court on Friday granted bail to the Congress leader under section 436 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, though his lawyer B M Mangukiya argued that Gandhi did not need to file a bail application as it is not required when a summon is issued.
S V Raju, the complainants’ lawyer, argued that he needed to file a bail application.
Several Gujarat Congress leaders accompanied Gandhi to the court where a large number of supporters had gathered.
Gandhi is facing multiple defamation cases across the country.
Gandhi levelled his allegations against the ADC Bank a few days after the NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) replied to a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by a Mumbai-based activist.
After the criminal defamation suit was filed, the court conducted an inquiry under section 202 of the CrPC to decide whether there were sufficient grounds to proceed against him.
ADC Bank and Patel have denied that the bank exchanged a huge amount of scrapped currency as alleged.
The bank has also filed a separate criminal defamation suit against Randeep Surjewala, the Congress’ communication in-charge, for making the same allegation at a press conference.