Gujarat court summons Rahul Gandhi in Cooperative bank defamation case

Topics Rahul Gandhi

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi

Gujarat court has asked Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to appear before it in connection with criminal defamation suits filed against him by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) and its chairman Ajay Patel.

The complainants had moved the court last year after Gandhi and Congress national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala reportedly alleged that the bank was involved in a "scam" to convert scrapped notes worth Rs 745.59 crore within five days of demonetisation announcement on November 8, 2016.

Gandhi was on April 9 summoned by the court of Additional Metropolitan Magistrate S K Gadhvi to appear before it on May 27.

But his counsel Monday sought more time for his client's appearance on the ground that the documents pertaining to testimonies of the complainants and witnesses were yet to be translated into English from Gujarati.

Gandhi's counsel also submitted before the court that his client will be at Shantivan in New Delhi on May 27 to pay tribute to India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his death anniversary.

The court then fixed July 12 for Gandhi to appear before it. It also asked Surjewala to appear before it on the same date.

The court had issued summons to the two leaders on April 9 after finding prima facie evidence against them.

The complainants have said that the two leaders levelled "false and defamatory allegations" against the bank.

Based on testimonies of Patel as well as three other witnesses recorded on August 27 last year, the court had conducted an inquiry under section 202 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before summoning Gandhi and Surjewala.

The CrPC section deals with inquiry into a case to decide whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding.

BJP president Amit Shah is one of the directors of the ADCB.

The allegations were made by Gandhi and Surjewala on the basis of a response given by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development to an RTI query filed by a Mumbai-based activist.

In the pleas filed through their lawyer, the ADCB and Patel had submitted before the court that the statements made by the two Congress leaders were false because the bank did not exchange such a huge amount of money.

They had said the bank did not have so much (demonetised) money to exchange and claims of Gandhi and Surjewala were defamatory.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel