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RSS Defamation Case: Rahul Gandhi appears in Bhiwandi court, pleads ‘not guilty’

RSS Defamation Case: Rahul Gandhi appears in Bhiwandi court, pleads ‘not guilty’
RSS Defamation Case: Rahul Gandhi appears in Bhiwandi court, pleads 'not guilty'

Rahul Gandhi at Bhiwandi court earlier today

Congress president Rahul Gandhi appeared before a magistrate court in Thane district on Tuesday in connection with the criminal defamation case filed against him for his alleged remarks against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Gandhi arrived in Mumbai on Tuesday morning on a two-day visit to Maharashtra. He appeared before the court at Bhiwandi in Thane at 11 am.

Per the latest developments, Gandhi scion pleaded ‘not guilty’ and the court is likely to frame charges against the Congress chief under IPC sections 499 and 500.

Earlier on May 2, the court had asked Gandhi to appear before it to record his plea in the defamation case filed by Rajesh Kunte, secretary of the Bhiwandi unit of RSS, in 2014.

Kunte had filed the case after watching Rahul Gandhi’s speech at an election rally in which he had alleged that the RSS was behind the killing of Mahatma Gandhi.

“The RSS people had killed (Mahatma) Gandhi,” the Congress president had allegedly said in the rally.

In September 2016, Gandhi withdrew his petition filed in the apex court, challenging the case and said he would face the trial.

He also 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.

During his two-day visit to Maharashtra, Rahul Gandhi is also expected to address party workers and interact with its corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

Later in the day, Gandhi will later address party workers in Goregaon. “We expect that more than 10,000 Congress workers will attend. Gandhi will directly interact with the workers,’’ City Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said.

On Wednesday, he is scheduled to meet the kin of Dadaji Khobragade, the rural inventor who revolutionised rice farming, at Chandrapur in Vidarbha, before returning to Delhi. Khobragade (78) died earlier this month after a prolonged illness.

However, contrary to media reports, Rahul’s itinerary doesn’t mention any meeting with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.

“Top leaders (of both the parties) can meet any time. But no such meeting is on the agenda on Tuesday,” a Congress leader said.

“Rahulji will appear before the court in the morning, address party workers in the afternoon and interact with Congress corporators on Mumbai’s civic issues,” the leader added.

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