Days after receiving a contempt notice from the Supreme Court, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has got a directive to appear in person in connection with a defamation suit at a Magistrate court in Bihar.
The defamation case has been filed by Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi over Rahul Gandhi’s remark that “all thieves have the surname Modi” made at a political rally.
On April 15, Rahul Gandhi was campaigning in Nanded in Maharashtra when he asked the audience, “Tell me one thing. Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi… how come all of them have Modi as common name. How come all the thieves have the surname Modi?”
Rahul Gandhi had sought to equate Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi with diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who is currently in a London jail, and former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, who too has fled to England. Both Nirav and Lalit are wanted in India over in separate cases of financial fraud.
Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi took exception to Rahul Gandhi’s remark as he too shares the surname. On April 27, he argued in court saying he felt humiliated and ridiculed by the remark. Taking cognisance of his argument, Chief Judicial Magistrate Shashikant Roy directed Rahul Gandhi to appear in person on May 20, when the case comes up for the next hearing.
Earlier on April 10, Rahul Gandhi had wrongly attributed his remark “Chowkidar chor hai” (the watchman is a thief), referring to the prime minister, to the Supreme Court. He later expressed regret over the wrong attribution when the top court sought an explanation from him. However, unsatisfied with the explanation, the court has sent him a contempt notice. The case will come up for hearing on April 30.