HC dismisses Rahul Gandhi's plea to quash defamation case

Mumbai: In a setback to Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, the Bombay High Court today dismissed his petition for quashing a defamation case against him for allegedly blaming RSS for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

Justice M L Tahaliyani rejected Rahul's petition seeking to quash the complaint filed by RSS activist Rajesh Kunte before a magisterial court in Bhiwandi in Thane district claiming that the Congress leader had said at a rally during last year's Lok Sabha poll that a worker of the saffron outfit had killed Mahatma Gandhi.

In his complaint, Kunte, secretary of the Bhiwandi unit of RSS, had alleged that Rahul told an election rally at Sonale on March 6 that "RSS people killed Gandhiji". He said the Congress vice president had sought to tarnish the reputation of the Sangh through his speech.

Following the complaint, the magistrate's court had initiated proceedings and issued notice to Rahul directing him to appear before it.

The Congress leader then approached the High Court seeking exemption from appearance and quashing of the complaint. Rahul's lawyers argued that the complaint was motivated and malafide and deserved to be quashed. They argued that no case was made out against Rahul and the criminal proceedings initiated against him were part of the BJP's election campaign.

The prosecution had opposed the petition and argued that Rahul can plead his case and lead evidence during trial before the magistrate.

The High Court today dismissed the petition and refused to grant stay on its order to allow the Congress leader time to appeal against it in the Supreme Court.

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