Mumbai, Oct 17: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday moved the Bombay High Court seeking to dismiss a 2017 defamation case filed against him for allegedly linking the RSS with the murder of Bengaluru journalist Gauri Lankesh.
The matter which came up before Justice Sarang Kotwal, has been adjourned to December 5.
Through his lawyer Kushal Mor, Gandhi has challenged a 2019 order of a Borivali magistrate's court refusing to dismiss the private defamation complaint lodged by RSS ideologue and advocate Dhrutiman Joshi.
Among other things, Gandhi has said that he was wrongly arraigned as an accused in the case along with CPI-M Secretary Sitaram Yechury who had allegedly made a separate statement in a different place and time after Lankesh’s killing on September 5, 2017 in the Karnataka capital.
He has contended that Joshi’s complaint violates CrPC's Section 218 which prescribes separate charges for separate offences, and that the concept of a joint trial is unknown, not mandated or sanctioned under the law.
Joshi’s complaint against Gandhi went back to September 6, 2017 after Lankesh’s killing, and while watching the news, he claimed he saw the Congress leader speaking outside the Parliament, allegedly saying that whoever raised their voice against the BJP-RSS ideology is pressured, attacked or killed.
Similarly, Joshi claimed that Yechury had allegedly spoken to the media that the RSS was responsible for the scribe’s murder, and contended that these statements were made without any proof to tarnish the RSS in the eyes of the common masses.
Following the complaint, the Borivali magistrate's court issued summons in February 2019 to Gandhi and Yechury. The duo appeared before the court in July 2019 and sought bail, but later Gandhi and Yechury filed applications seeking to quash the complaint citing various grounds.
In November 2019, the Borivali Magistrate dismissed both the applications filed by Gandhi and Yechury in the matter, and now the Congress leader has moved the high court against that rejection order. Gandhi has prayed to the court to set aside and quash the lower court’s order, set aside the process issued against him and dismiss the complaint.