Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 | Last Update : 05:28 PM IST
Lawyer says Congress V-P linked group with Gauri Lankesh murder.
Mumbai: A criminal defamation suit has been filed against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its general secretary Sitaram Yechury for linking journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh’s murder with “BJP-RSS ideology”.
Rashtriya Swayam-sevak Sangh (RSS) worker Dhrutiman Joshi, a 27-year-old lawyer from Dadar, filed the private complaint in a local court. It sought issuance of summons and process for the criminal defamation case against the Gandhis and Mr Yechury under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for defaming the RSS and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“After Rahul Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury made statements linking Gauri Lankesh’s murder with RSS ideology, many of my friends started asking me if RSS was behind her murder,” said Mr Joshi, adding, “One of my friends from America and few lawyer friends were ridiculed and told that their organisation and its ideology had killed her. I have those Facebook messages and I really do not appreciate it. I personally felt very bad because I am not part of something that is a murderers’ institution. So to make things clear in the eyes of public, and to make them also realise that they should not make such statements, I have filed this suit.”
According to him, the statements were baseless and no investigating agency had hinted that the RSS is behind her murder. He also said, “The court has considered my prima facie complaint and it is going to hear me extensively on the next date of hearing in October.”
Advocate Narayan Iyer, who is representing Mr Gandhi in a defamation case filed by a RSS member in the Bhiwandi court in Bhiwandi, said the matter must be at a very initial stage. “He must have just filed the complaint. We have not received any communication. Generally when complaints are filed, there are certain procedures that are followed after which summons are issued only if court is prima facie satisfied with the complaint. So far we have not received any type of summons or anything. We have no knowledge that a case has been filed so we cannot comment anything right now.”
Mr Yechury told The Asian Age in a text message, “Let them first file a notice! It will be fought politically and legally.”
Mr Joshi, in his complaint before the court, said, “Views expressed by them in public without any proof or official statement by the investigating authorities are defamatory and detrimental to the image of the RSS.”
On September 6, unknown persons murdered Lankesh at her residence in Karnataka. Joshi’s complaint states that after her murder, Mr Gandhi allegedly said in a statement before mediapersons, “Anybody who speaks against the ideology of the BJP, against the ideology of the RSS is pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed.”
According to complainant, Mr Yechury also allegedly stated that it was the RSS’ ideology and RSS men who killed said journalist.