Congress leader and former party chief Rahul Gandhi and CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury will soon face trial on a defamation case filed against them by an RSS worker for allegedly linking the sangh to the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh.
A court in Mumbai, presided by Metropolitan Magistrate P I Mokashi, on Saturday rejected applications of both leaders seeking dismissal of the defamation complaint filed by an RSS activist and lawyer Dhrutiman Joshi.
In his application, filed through advocate Kushal Mor, Gandhi said it was wrong to club the cases against him and Yechury. The application stated that the court recorded the “joint plea” of the Congress leader and Yechury. However, such a joint trial can be conducted only under section 233 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, whose provisions do not apply in the present case, the plea said.
A similar application was moved by Yechury seeking dismissal of the defamation complaint.
In July, both Gandhi and Yechury pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the defamation charge, after which the judge granted them bail.
Joshi, in his plea, alleged that within 24 hours of Lankesh’s death, Gandhi told reporters that “anybody who speaks against the ideology of the BJP, against the ideology of the RSS, is pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed.” The complaint further alleged that Yechury too stated that it was the RSS’ ideology and RSS people who killed Lankesh who was known for trenchant criticism of right-wing politics.
In September 2017, the journalist was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru.
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