Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
and CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury
will face trial after pleading not guilty on Thursday in a defamation case filed against them by an RSS
Amid heavy security, Gandhi and Yechury appeared before the Mazgaon-Sewree metropolitan magistrate's court following summons issued to them in February this year. The court read out the complaint to the two leaders and asked if they were pleading guilty or not to the charges levelled against them.
Gandhi and Yechury, who pleaded not guilty, will now face trial during which the court would record their statements and that of the complainant as well as other witnesses.
The court granted them bail on a surety amount of Rs 15,000 each along with permanent exemption from appearance before it during the hearings in the case.
Former Congress MP Eknath Gaikwad stood as surety for Gandhi.
Gandhi and Yechury then signed necessary documents and left the court premises.
This is the second defamation case which Gandhi faces in Maharashtra. He is already facing trial in a complaint filed at Bhiwandi in neighbouring Thane district by a local RSS
worker, for allegedly blaming the Sangh for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.
Dhrutiman Joshi, an RSS
activist and advocate had filed a private complaint in 2017 against Gandhi and Yechury, seeking defamation proceedings to be initiated against them for allegedly linking RSS to the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh.
Meanwhile, around 250 party supporters gathered outside the court premises and shouted slogans asking the Gandhi scion to take back his resignation as Congress president. Gandhi greeted them while walking into the court gates.
"Gandhi honoured the summons issued against him by this court. He has pleaded not guilty, which means he will face trial. The court has posted the matter for further hearing on September 21," Gandhi's lawyer Kushal Mor said.