On March 17, 2022, a Surat district court in Gujarat, found Congress MP Rahul Gandhi guilty in a 2019 criminal defamation case filed against him for his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gandhi had allegedly made the statement, “how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?” at a rally in Karnataka‘s Kolar ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The court has convicted Gandhi under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Following the verdict, Rahul Gandhi quoted Mahatma Gandhi in a tweet, saying, “My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, non-violence the means to get it- Mahatma Gandhi.” The Congress leader was present in court when the verdict was announced. The court sentenced him to two years in jail, but granted him bail and suspended his sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal the decision.
Congress President and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, has stated that they will fight the judgement as per law. “He has been granted bail. We knew from the beginning because they kept changing judges. We believe in law, judiciary and we will fight against this as per law,” Kharge told ANI.
The defamation case was filed by BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi. Following Gandhi’s alleged remarks, the MLA had lodged a complaint against him. The Surat district court announced the verdict in the case on March 17, 2022. The court granted Gandhi bail, but he has to appear before it within 30 days to appeal the decision. The Congress party has not yet made a statement regarding the verdict.