Defamation case: Court exempts Rahul Gandhi today, tells him to appear 7 June

Meanwhile, it has granted bail to chief minister Siddaramaiah and deputy chief minister D.K. Shivakumar in the same case

Posters with QR codes and images of Karnataka CM Bommai tagged 'PayCM' (left), of PM Modi tagged 'CryPM'
Posters with QR codes and images of Karnataka CM Bommai tagged 'PayCM' (left), of PM Modi tagged 'CryPM'


A Bengaluru court on Saturday, 1 June, has directed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to appear before it in a defamation case filed by the BJP, and granted bail to Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy D.K. Shivakumar in connection with the same matter.

Rahul Gandhi has been asked to appear before the court on 7 June.

The defamation case, over alleged false advertisements, was filed by BJP general secretary Keshav Prasad.

While Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar appeared in person before the Special Court for People’s Representatives in Bengaluru, Gandhi did not.

BJP advocates raised objections and said Gandhi should not be given an exemption under CrPC 205 since he had skipped an appearance for the second time.

Congress advocates argued that Gandhi was attending the INDIA bloc meeting in New Delhi, and he is also a contestant in the Lok Sabha polls. Accordingly, they requested the court for exemption from Saturday's hearing and promised that the Congress leader would be present on the next date. The court granted the exemption and directed that he be present on 7 June.

In the run-up to the 2023 Assembly election, the Congress ran a '40 per cent sarkara' campaign, accusing the then-BJP-led government in Karnataka of collecting 40 per cent commission on public works and exorbitant bribes for posting and recruitments.

The party also put out posters that carried the legend 'PayCM', with a QR code alongside an image of then-chief minister Basavaraj Bommai. Scanning the QR code would redirect to a web page developed by the Congress, which had content alleging that rampant corruption was prevalent in the state under the BJP rule.

The complainant accused the Congress party of running a defamatory campaign against the previous BJP government.

Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah said he appeared in court regarding a private complaint. He described the case as civil and emphasised his commitment to the law.

The chief minister said KPCC president Shivakumar and Rahul Gandhi were also implicated in the case. All the three leaders have requested a permanent injunction to avoid further court appearances related to this case.

Meanwhile, addressing mediapersons, Shivakumar said the Congress party's advertisements were based on statements made by BJP leaders that were reported in the media.

He asserted that the party is prepared to handle the legal challenge, highlighting the BJP leaders' claims about substantial payments for the chief minister’s post and other positions.

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