Rahul Gandhi’s love-hate relationship with the RSS, Modi, and the BJP has been the only thing that has cheered up his sycophants, who are otherwise defeated people at heart.Mr Gandhi’s cynical opposition frequently pushed the boundaries of parliamentary discourse.This includes repeated baseless accusations against RSS or PM Modi, going to the extent of equating RSS with the terrorist organisation Muslim Brotherhood.
Gandhi scion escaped the legal consequences of his falsehoods on several occasions by tendering ‘unconditional’ apologies. But as they say, apologies can’t be a legal shield to get away each time.
And now, he has been found guilty in the 2019 criminal defamation case. In this context, we bring you the grave charges levelled against Mr. Gandhi. These cases underscore the fact that in addition to his debatable foot-in-mouth disease, he is possibly one of the many tainted and ‘corrupt’ politicians in India.
“Modi Surname” defamation case
In a politically significant and historic verdict, the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court of H H Verma in Surat recently found Rahul Gandhi guilty in the 2019 criminal defamation case. In the presence of Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders, the court sentenced Mr. Gandhi to two years imprisonment.
However, the court also granted him respite and approved his bail. The CJM court stayed its verdict for 30 days to allow Mr Gandhi to appeal to a higher court.
The case pertains to a 2019 remark made by Rahul Gandhi at an election rally in Karnataka’s Kolar. On April 13, 2019, Mr. Gandhi said, “Why do all the thieves have Modi in their names, whether it be Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, or Narendra Modi?”
This outrageous and broad generalisation became the cause of his legal troubles. He was later dragged to court by former Gujarat minister and BJP MLA Purnesh Modi, who filed a criminal defamation case. Mr. Gandhi was charged under sections 499 and 500 of the IPC and served a two-year prison sentence.
Rahul Gandhi has been convicted u/s 499 and 500 of IPC. The sentence awarded is for 2 years and against that sentence, he has plead that he may be released on bail till appeal period and as per law, the Court has granted him bail for 30 days and until appeal, the sentence is… pic.twitter.com/d8TFyMcUi2
Post-verdict, Congressmen came out in support of Mr. Gandhi.
This is a Govt which uses outdated, crude, colonial tools to silence vocal political opponents. This is yet another example of a crude attempt to silence a political opponent. This judgement will be appealed, we know the playbook of the Govt. We are well prepared for it. Party is… pic.twitter.com/TY6a2D7nvr
However, it is interesting to note that Congress has strongly defended criminalising defamation in certain cases. In fact, in 1988, Rahul Gandhi’s father, Rajiv Gandhi, strongly advocated for stringent defamation cases. He was the one who enacted the two-year sentence for defamation, and ironically, his son is now a victim of it. Is it poetic justice? Perhaps, maybe not.
Furthermore, when the Congress party was in power, it consistently advocated for criminalising defamation and opposed any attempts to decriminalise it. Now that it is in opposition, its tone has changed, and understandably so.
Unfortunately, Rahul Gandhi is disqualified as an MP!
Rahul Gandhi’s legal counsel and senior advocate, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, stated that he will challenge the Surat court’s verdict. However, he added that Mr. Gandhi is highly likely to be disqualified as an MP. On the question of being vulnerable to disqualification, Mr. Gandhi’s counsel, Dr. Singhvi, said, “I have no doubt that not only is he vulnerable, but given the past conduct of the government, he is likely to be disqualified. I think to assume that he will not be is being very optimistic.”
Rahul Gandhi was immediately disqualified at the very moment the CJM court pronounced him guilty and sentenced him to two years imprisonment. The only thing that can keep Mr Gandhi from being barred from running for office is if the conviction is overturned by a higher court.
Now, bail or any other sort of interim relief will not save him from disqualification. If Rahul Gandhi is not provided any special privileges, technically, he is already disqualified from his Lok Sabha membership. Let us now take a look at the other major criminal cases that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is facing.
Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru founded the Congress mouthpiece National Herald newspaper in 1938. Due to financial difficulties, it ceased publication in 2008. Additionally, its parent company, Associated Journals Limited (AJL), was also facing financial problems.
Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi founded the Young Indian Foundation in 2010.They became the majority shareholders in this controversial organisation, ‘Young Indian’. They held around 76% of the stakes in it, while the rest, 24%, were equally held by the late Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes.
This new Gandhi-held young Indian company acquired AJL’s debt and took over the company’s assets, including the National Herald building in New Delhi. It is claimed that a loan of 90 crore rupees was given to a company called Young Indian.
The mother-son duo has not been able to explain the transactions and money flow. Instead, they made late Congress leader Motilal Vohra the scapegoat for all these alleged illegal transactions and corruption in the National Herald case, which is said to be to the tune of Rs 2,000 crores.
The Gandhis are alleged to have used the funds of the Congress party to give the loan to Young Indian, which they later took over under their personal control.
In July 2022, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out raids at the head office of the National Herald in Delhi. The raids were carried out under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Later, ED officials ‘temporarily’ sealead the Young India office. The officials stated that it had done so in order to “preserve the evidence”. However, the case is still pending before the courts.
RSS defamation case
A RSS member, Rajesh Kunte, in 2014 filed a defamation case against Rahul Gandhi regarding his controversial speech in Bhiwandi. Rahul Gandhi claimed on March 6, 2014, that the RSS was responsible for Mahatma Gandhi’s death.Mr Gandhi stated at an election rally that “the RSS people had killed (Mahatma) Gandhi.”
Now, the case is pending before a court in Maharashtra’s Bhiwandi town. The case will be heard in court on April 1st, and his counsel has requested a permanent exemption from appearing.
Furthermore, politicians like Subramanian Swamy have been raising doubts about his citizenship.
In addition to these legal troubles, he has been apologising for his outrageous allegations. Earlier, to allege corruption charges against the Modi government in the Rafale deal, Mr. Gandhi misquoted the late Manohar Parrikar, which obviously backfired against him. Later, he had to tender unconditional apologies in court for his “Chaukidar chor hai” remark.
The Congress leader who has been eyeing the top constitutional post appears to have gotten himself into a legal quagmire, and how he gets out of it will be a deciding factor not only for his political career, but also for Congress and Indian politics.
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