India. Opposition politician Gandhi found guilty of defamation

Status: 03/23/2023 2:45 p.m.

Indian opposition politician Gandhi has been found guilty of defamation by a court. This was a remark made by Gandhi in 2019 about the name Modi. Gandhi initially remains free on bail and can appeal.

India’s leading opposition politician Rahul Gandhi has been sentenced to two years in prison after a controversial statement about Prime Minister Narendra Modi being accused of reputational damage. Gandhi was present when the Gujarat State Court announced the verdict.

However, Gandhi will initially remain free on bail for 30 days and may appeal the verdict, Indian media reported after the verdict was announced.

The case stems from a remark during the 2019 election campaign in which the 52-year-old asked why “all thieves share the surname Modi”. The comments were taken as an insult to the prime minister and leader of the Hindu nationalist BJP party, which won the election by a landslide. Gandhi’s comments were “not intended to hurt or offend any community”, his attorney told reporters after the hearing.

legal action for damage to reputation

A senior member of Modi’s ruling BJP party, also called Modi, Purnesh Modi, had sued Ghandi for defamation and said he insulted the entire Modi community. Gandhi’s lawyers had argued in court that there was no legal basis for the lawsuit. In his speech, Gandhi made no reference to either the MP or the prime minister.

Gandhi is the son, grandson and great-grandson of former Indian prime ministers. From 2017 to 2019, he was the leader of the Congress party. The Gandhi family is not related to independence hero Mahatma Gandhi but consists of descendants of the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. After the last defeat in 2019, party leader Gandhi resigned in favor of his mother Sonia Gandhi, who first took office in 1998. As of October 2022, the party has been led by former minister Mallikarjun Kharge.

India will elect a new parliament in spring 2024. Modi is expected to seek re-election for a third term. His Bharatiya Janata party had largely won the last two elections.

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