Surat, April 3: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who was sentenced to two years in prison in a criminal defamation case, was granted bail extension by a sessions court in Gujarat’s Surat on Monday. The court will hear his appeal against conviction in the case on April 13.
Earlier, the former president of Congress, arrived in Surat to file the appeal in sessions court against a lower court’s order that found him guilty of criminal defamation. The charges stemmed from a remark he made in April 2019 while campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka’s Kolar.
The court accepted Gandhi’s petition and scheduled it for a hearing on April 13. However, he also faces another deadline to vacate his official residence in New Delhi, which was allotted to him as an MP, by April 22.
During his campaign, Gandhi stated that “all thieves have Modi surname”, equating Prime Minister Narendra Modi with fugitives like Lalit Modi and Nirav Modi. On March 23, a lower court in Surat found him guilty of defaming the entire Modi community in a case filed by BJP MLA Purnesh Modi. The former Congress president was subsequently disqualified from the Lok Sabha under a rule that bars convicted MPs from holding Lok Sabha membership.
Gandhi was given the maximum 2-year jail term for his offence, but the sentence was suspended for 30 days for him to file an appeal against the order. If the conviction is not overturned, he will be disqualified from contesting elections for the next eight years.