India

Rahul Gandhi asks for exemption from appearing in Maharashtra libel case -by Ecork

Thane:

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has applied in a court in Bhiwandi, Thane district, Maharashtra state, seeking permanent exemption from appearing in a defamation case against him.

Magistrate Magistrate First Class (JMFC) JV Paliwal on Tuesday directed the plaintiff, local RSS activist Rajesh Conte, to respond to the request and post the matter for another hearing on May 18.

In 2014, Mr Conte brought a case against Gandhi after witnessing his speech in Bhiwandi town of Thane, in which the Congress leader alleged that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was behind Mahatma Gandhi’s murder.

Mr. Conte had claimed that this statement discredited the RSS service.

In his application conveyed on Tuesday, Mr. Gandhi said that as a Member of Parliament (from Wayanad in Kerala state), he should visit his constituency, come to party work, travel a lot and hence be exempted from appearing in person in court.

His lawyer, Narayan Iyer, said that Mr. Gandhi also stated in his application that whenever necessary, he would be allowed to be represented by his lawyer at the hearing.

On Tuesday, Mr Comte filed a request to be excused from appearing because he was ill, which the court allowed.

In 2018, the court brought charges against Gandhi in the case, but he pleaded not guilty.

Last month, Mr. Conte paid Rs 1,500 in cost to Mr. Gandhi, as directed by the court, as he (Conte) sought to adjourn the case.

Mr. Conte had twice transferred requests for adjournments – in March and April – which were rejected by the court and required him to pay Rs 500 (for March) and Rs 1,000 (for April) to Mr Gandhi.

(This story has not been edited by the NDTV crew and is automatically generated from a shared feed.)

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