Mumbai: Will stand my ground in court, says Dhrutiman Joshi

Updated: 25 November, 2019 13:32 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

RSS activist and criminal lawyer Dhrutiman Joshi gears up for trial in defamation case against Rahul Gandhi as his lawyer too starts prepping for Jan 2020 showdown

Dhrutiman Joshi
Dhrutiman Joshi

Applications filed by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Communist Party of India (Marxist) secretary Sitaram Yechury for dismissal of a defamation complaint filed by Mumbai's Dhrutiman Joshi over their comments on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in relation to the Gauri Lankesh murder were rejected by a trial court in Mumbai on Saturday, November 23.

Both, Gandhi and Yechury had made a statement blaming the BJP-RSS ideology for journalist Lankesh's murder in Bengaluru. Joshi, a local RSS activist and criminal lawyer had filed the suit against him and Yechury in 2017. Gandhi and Yechury will now face trial in a Mazagaon Court on January 6, 2020. City-based advocate Kushal Mor, who is representing Gandhi, said, "We intend to challenge this, as a challenge is required. We have informed the court and Joshi about this." He refused to elaborate.

"When I initially filed a suit against Gandhi and Yechury, I did think I was taking a big step. These are huge political names, and it was daunting to some extent. I was also confident though that one cannot escape the law," Joshi said.

Joshi added that the application for dismissal is, "A delaying tactic. When Gandhi appeared in court in the matter just a couple of days after quitting as Congress president, there were at least 50,000 supporters outside the court. They are most welcome to challenge this. I shall argue in the superior court, in the same way, I argued in the lower court. I will stand my ground."

Advocate Joshi's father, Sachit Joshi, an RSS member for 40 years, said, "I encouraged and motivated Dhrutiman to file this suit. It is important when you are a public figure and a tall leader — Gandhi was then the president of Congress — that you weigh your words. Such nonsense gives a wrong signal and deepens fissures. You cannot give statements based on some suspicion, you have to prove it. Dhrutiman has done a very thorough job. We are not supported by any political party."

Joshi had earlier said, "In 2017, Gandhi criticised the RSS and alleged that 'anybody who speaks against the ideology of the BJP, against the ideology of the RSS is pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed.' How did Rahul Gandhi know that, and within hours of the Lankesh murder? It was a sweeping statement and I could not let him get away with it."

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First Published: 25 November, 2019 07:46 IST

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