RSS defamation case: Rahul Gandhi pleads not guilty, petitioner alleges bias by Bhiwandi police

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had pleaded not guilty before the Bhiwandi trial court in connection with a defamation case filed against him by a RSS activist. 

 RSS defamation case: Rahul Gandhi pleads not guilty, petitioner alleges bias by Bhiwandi police
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Bhiwandi: Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) activist Rajesh Kunte on Tuesday accused the Bhiwandi Police of bias towards him and giving special treatment to Rahul Gandhi in connection with a defamation case filed by him against the Congress chief.

''Special treatment was given to Rahul Gandhi and his people. I am the complainant and still was not allowed inside court without being frisked but Rahul Gandhi and his people went in without frisking despite him being accused. Police was biased,'' Rajesh Kunte told reporters outside the court.

Kunte made this remark shortly after the Bhiwandi trial court ordered the framing of charges against Rahul Gandhi in connection with the case.

The court ordered the authorities to book Rahul Gandhi under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. However, the Gandhi scion pleaded not guilty before the court. 

As the proceedings began inside the court and judge AI Sheikh read out the charges against him, Rahul Gandhi said, ''I am not guilty."

The court also posted the matter for next hearing on August 10.

Rahul Gandhi had landed in troubled waters for allegedly saying that ''the RSS was behind the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.''

The Congress president had made these remarks during an election rally on March 6, 2014.

Offended with his remarks, Kunte had filed a case accusing Rahul Gandhi of attempting to defame the RSS - the parent organisation of the BJP - which in power at the Centre and in 21 states.  

Rahul Gandhi had earlier failed to appear before the trial court and his lawyer had pleaded the court from granting him exemption from a personal appearance.

In September 2016, Rahul Gandhi had withdrawn his petition filed in the apex court challenging the RSS defamation case and said that he would instead face the trial.

Rahul Gandhi had expressed his readiness to face the trial after the top court refused to interfere with the criminal proceedings pending against him before the trial court in Bhiwandi. 

Besides the RSS defamation case, Rahul, his mother Sonia Gandhi and some top Congress leaders are also under the scanner in connection with alleged misappropriation of funds related to the now-defunct National Herald newspaper.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy is the petitioner in this case. 

After attending the proceedings at the Bhiwandi trial court, Rahul is expected to travel to Mumbai where he will interact with Congress’ booth-level workers at an event to be held at the Bombay Exhibition Centre at Goregaon in north Mumbai. 

At the function there, Rahul will launch ‘Project Shakti’, a national initiative undertaken by the Congress to facilitate the party leadership establish direct communication with the grassroot workers across the country.

This will be Rahul Gandhi’s first public engagement in Mumbai ever since he took over as Congress president in December 2017.

During his stay in Mumbai, Rahul Gandhi is also expected to meet NCP president Sharad Pawar.

(With Agency inputs)

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