A local court in Ahmedabad on Friday granted bail to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who pleaded not guilty in a criminal defamation case filed by a Gujarat BJP leader for calling party president Amit Shah a “murder accused” in the run-up to this summer’s Lok Sabha elections.
Rahul on Friday appeared before the magistrate court in two criminal defamation suits. He had been granted bail in the other case on July 12.
In the second case, he has sought permanent exemption from appearance, which will be heard on December 7.
The court issued a bailable warrant against senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala after rejecting his plea seeking exemption from appearance, and for his failure to appear in person on Friday on the ground that he is contesting Assembly election in Haryana.
Surejwala’s counsel Iqbal Shaikh sought a stay, which was not granted. Surjewala will now have to appear on December 18.
Rahul first appeared in the packed seventh-floor courtroom of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) R B Etaliya in the criminal defamation case filed by Krishnavadan Brahmbhatt, a local BJP leader, in May. The complaint stated that addressing an election rally in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, in April, Rahul had allegedly said, “Murder accused, BJP chief Amit Shah, wah, kya shaan hai.”
The complaint stated that the allegation is not only “defamatory but also false, because Amit Shah had been discharged honourably by CBI court in January 2015” in the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
The court granted bail against a surety of Rs 10,000. Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly Paresh Dhanani served as the guarantor.
Minutes later, Rahul arrived in the court of ACMM N B Munshi in another criminal defamation case, filed against Rahul and Surjewala by Ahmedabad District Cooperative (ADC) Bank and its chairman Ajay Patel.
Rahul, who pleaded not guilty, was granted bail in this case on July 12 against a surety amount of Rs 15,000. But he was required to be present at the next hearing, failing which he would have had forfeited his surety amount.