BJP MLA Purnesh Modi, who filed a criminal defamation case against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his ‘Modi surname’ remark, today said he welcomes the Supreme Court order of a stay on Mr Gandhi’s conviction.
“We welcome the judgement, and will fight the legal battle in the Sessions Court,” he said.
The BJP MLA had on Monday sought the dismissal of Rahul Gandhi’s appeal in the Supreme Court against his conviction, saying he has defamed all those bearing the Modi surname, particularly people belonging to the ‘Modh Vanik’ caste of Gujarat.
“In 2019, then Congress President Rahul Gandhi at Kolar, 100 km from Bengaluru in Karnataka, insulted all those who bear the Modi name and surname, or are from the Modi caste or community — a big constituent of the Other Backward Classes,” Mr Modi reiterated while reacting to today’s big judgement.
He also laid out a timeline of the case, pointing out they had favourable judgements at lower courts.
“We filed a petition at a trial court in Surat. The court sentenced him to two years in prison after all legal proceedings, in 2023. Rahul Gandhi filed a petition in the Surat Sessions Court for a stay on conviction, but his request was denied. The judgement was in our favour. He then went to the High Court, which also denied stay on conviction, and the judgement was in our favour,” he said.
In his written reply to Mr Gandhi’s appeal in the top court on Monday, Purnesh Modi had said, “It is a settled law that stay of conviction is granted in the rarest of rare cases for exceptional reasons. The Petitioner’s (Rahul Gandhi) case manifestly does not fall in that category. Moreover, it is respectfully submitted that the order of conviction of the Petitioner by the Trial Court is unimpeachable on the evidence-on-record.”
While hearing the case today, the Supreme Court had also said Mr Gandhi will have to make out an exceptional case for a stay on conviction. The top court was hearing Mr Gandhi’s appeal challenging the Gujarat High Court’s July 7 verdict that declined to put on hold his conviction.