RaGa gets 2-year sentence in 'Modi surname' case; granted bail
The Surat District Court convicted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a criminal defamation case filed in 2019 over his remark, "How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?" On Thursday, Gandhi was found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison. He was given bail for 30 days and was permitted to appeal the judgment.
Why does this story matter?
- The Congress termed the case against Gandhi a representation of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) dictatorship to shush the Opposition.
- The BJP has been trying to corner Gandhi, accusing him of defaming India over his recent remarks in the United Kingdom (UK) about the BJP government's alleged stifling of dissent.
- Notably, the case against Gandhi was filed in Gujarat, the BJP's stronghold.
Rs. 15,000 fine imposed, 30 days appeal against verdict
The Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Varma found Gandhi guilty under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Apart from the sentence, a fine of Rs. 15,000 was also imposed upon him. Based on his plea, he was granted bail in the case and his sentence was suspended to enable him to appeal against the verdict within 30 days.
There isn't any community named Modi: Rahul Gandhi
Gandhi earlier submitted before a magisterial court in June 2021 that he was just trying to highlight the misdeeds of PM Narendra Modi. He said he didn't intend to defame any particular community and added that, to his knowledge, there was no community named Modi.
The Modis who thieved and absconded
Notably, Gandhi's "thief" remark mentioned Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi—both of whom are fugitive economic offenders. Nirav Modi is a diamantaire currently living in the UK and is accused of defrauding the Punjab National Bank (PNB) of $2 billion. Whereas, Lalit Modi is the Indian Premier League (IPL) founder and has over a dozen cases of financial irregularities and money laundering against him.