In a major setback to Rahul Gandhi, a sessions court in Gujarat’s Surat rejected the Congress leader’s appeal seeking a stay and suspension of the lower court order which convicted him in a defamation case over the Modi surname and sentenced him to two years in jail resulting in his disqualification as an MP.
A stay or suspension on the conviction could have led to his reinstatement as a member of the Lok Sabha.
Rahul Gandhi on April 3 filed an appeal in the sessions court against his conviction and said that the order was “erroneous and patently perverse” and that he was sentenced in a manner so as to attract disqualification as an MP. The Congress leader also alleged that he was treated harshly by the trial court which was “overwhelmingly influenced” by his status as an MP, and maintained there is no such thing as a definite Modi samaj or community on record. Gandhi’s lawyers also filed two applications, one for a stay on the sentence and another for a stay on conviction till the disposal of the appeal. He was granted bail.
Opposing his plea, complainant Purnesh Modi said Rahul Gandhi is a repeat offender and he refused to apologise for the comment.
The sessions court heard both sides on April 13 and had reserved its judgment for April 20.
Rahul Gandhi is likely to move the High Court on the issue.
“We will continue to avail all options still available to us under the law,” senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said.
BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said the rejection of the plea by the sessions court was ‘satyameva jayate.'”Will they (Congress) finally junk their arrogance and apologise to the OBC community rather than question the judiciary,” he remarked.