After a brief hearing, the Mumbai Court granted bail to Rahul Gandhi in the RSS defamation case on surety bond of Rs 15,000. Gandhi pleaded not guilty in the defamation case. Former lawmaker Eknath Gaikwad gave surety for Gandhi, an HT report said. The court’s decision will be a small relief for Gandhi, who had formally resigned from the post of the Congress chief on Wednesday. The case dates back to 2017 when an RSS activist sued Gandhi for allegedly linking the organisation to the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh. Gandhi arrived at the Mumbai airport in the morning and left for the court in south Mumbai. He was accompanied by senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Milind Deora.
In February, RSS activist Dhrutiman Joshi had filed a defamation case against Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for defaming the RSS following the death of Gauri Lankesh. Later, the Mazgaon court had issued summons to Gandhi and Yechury for questioning in connection with the case. The court, had, however, dismissed the complaint against Sonia Gandhi and the CPI(M). Lankesh, a senior journalist was murdered at her residence in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017.
In the complainant, Dhrutiman Joshi stated that Rahul Gandhi, within 24-hours of the murder of the journalist, criticised the RSS and alleged that "anybody who speaks against the ideology of the BJP, against the ideology of the RSS is pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed."
Rahul Gandhi is also facing another defamation case at Bhiwandi in neighbouring Thane district, filed by a local RSS worker, for allegedly blaming the Sangh for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.
Gandhi is also scheduled to attend other defamation hearings in Patna, Surat and Ahmedabad later this month.
On Wednesday, hours after Rahul Gandhi declared that he was no longer the Congress president, the Wayanad MP took to Twitter to share a letter which he wrote to his party workers, saying it was "an honour to serve the Congress party".
"It is an honour for me to serve the Congress Party, whose values and ideals have served as the lifeblood of our beautiful nation. I owe the country and my organisation a debt of tremendous gratitude and love," he wrote in the letter.