Rahul Gandhi claimed in his affidavit that Purnesh Modi had only used derogatory phrases like “arrogant” to criticize the former head of the Congress because he was unable to accept responsibility. Rahul Gandhi, the head of the Congress, testified before the Supreme Court on Wednesday that he has consistently maintained his innocence in the defamation case involving the ‘Modi surname’ statement. He said that the conviction was unjustified and that he would have compounded the offense and apologized far earlier if he had been required to.
Rahul Gandhi asked the supreme court to postpone his two-year sentence so he could take part in the Lok Sabha’s current session and any sessions that come after. Gandhi stated in his affidavit that Purnesh Modi, the complainant, only used derogatory phrases like “arrogant” to describe the former head of the Congress because Gandhi has refused to accept responsibility.
“Using the criminal process and the consequences under Representation of Peoples Act to arm-twist Rahul Gandhi into apologising for no fault, is gross abuse of the judicial process and ought not to be countenanced by this court”, ANI quoted the Congress leader’s affidavit. Gandhi had an “exceptional” case, according to the affidavit, given that the crime was minor and that it would have a lasting negative impact on his standing as an elected member of parliament.
Prior to that, on Monday, BJP leader and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi, the plaintiff in the defamation case, told the Supreme Court that the Congressman had displayed hubris rather than remorse for saying that “All Thieves have Modi surname,” according to Bar and Bench. In opposition to Rahul Gandhi’s request for a stay of his conviction in the defamation case, the complainant told the top court that Gandhi had disparaged a group of people who were entirely innocent by his careless and spiteful statements. Gandhi’s appeal of the Gujarat High Court’s decision to not stay his conviction on July 7 will be heard by the Supreme Court on August 4 and is expected to be denied.
Rahul Gandhi was convicted to two years in prison by a Surat metropolitan magistrate’s court in the 2019 case over his “why all thieves have Modi surname” comment, and as a result, was disqualified from serving in the Lok Sabha in March. The Surat Sessions Court later turned down a request to halt the conviction in this case.
Wayanad’s former Lok Sabha member had stated: “how come all thieves have the common surname Modi?” while addressing a rally in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election, targetting PM Modi over his last name which he shares with fugitive businessman Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi. As a result of his conviction, Rahul lost his right to serve as a member of parliament on March 24. Any MP or MLA is automatically disqualified under the judgement if they are found guilty and given a term of two years or more.