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Rahul Gandhi Exempted from Appearing in Defamation Case Hearing

The defamation case was filed by an RSS worker Rajesh Kunte after Gandhi had accused the RSS of killing Mahatma Gandhi while addressing a rally in Bhiwandi in Thane ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Radhika Ramaswamy | CNN-News18

Updated:April 23, 2018, 2:40 PM IST
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Rahul Gandhi Exempted from Appearing in Defamation Case Hearing
File image of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
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Mumbai: A magistrate court in Bhiwandi in Thane district has exempted Congress President Rahul Gandhi from appearing in person in the defamation case filed against Gandhi by an RSS worker. The court, in its last hearing, had asked the party president to appear before the court on Monday.

"The court has now pushed the date of hearing to May 2. We moved an application to exempt Gandhi from appearing in the court as he is busy in his political commitments. The court has approved the exemption," said Narayan Iyer, counsel for Gandhi.

The defamation case was filed by an RSS worker Rajesh Kunte after Gandhi had accused the RSS of killing Mahatma Gandhi while addressing a rally in Bhiwandi in Thane ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

An application was also moved by Gandhi's counsel to change the procedure of the trial from summary to summons so that detailed evidences can be recorded in the case.

"Since the matter is of historical importance and detailed evidence has to be recorded from both sides, summary trial isn't possible because in summary trial, only substance of evidence is recorded whereas in summons, detailed evidence will be recorded from both sides including evidence of witnesses," added Iyer.

The application will be heard on May 2, after which a date for framing of charges in the case will be decided by the court.
Gandhi had told the Supreme Court in September 2017 that he stands by his statement and was ready to face trial. He also turned down the SC's offer to express regret over the remark.

He had appeared before Bhiwandi court in November 2016 and January 2017.

| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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