Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday said former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's conviction in a criminal defamation case indicates that central agencies and courts are heading towards a direction that invites dictatorship and suppresses the voice of the opposition.
Talking to reporters, Raut said Gandhi had made a statement at a political rally and it has to be made clear who has been defamed.
"The court is in Surat, Gujarat. So it was not expected that the result was different," Raut said.
A court in Gujarat sentenced Gandhi to two years in jail in a 2019 criminal defamation case against him over his why all thieves have Modi surname.
"It is in their (the Bharatiya Janata Party) hand to award punishment…be it the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or courts. They are all going in one direction which is inviting dictatorship and suppressing the voice of the opposition. But it will strengthen the voice of the opposition," the Rajya Sabha member said.
The Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader said the opposition will keep fighting for democracy.
A court at Surat in Gujarat on Thursday sentenced Rahul Gandhi to two years in jail in a 2019 criminal defamation case filed against him over his "why all thieves have Modi surname" remark. The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate H H Varma, which held Gandhi guilty under Indian Penal Code sections 499 and 500 (dealing with defamation), also granted him bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court.
The case was filed against Gandhi for his alleged remark - 'How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?'. A complaint in this connection was lodged by BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi. Gandhi had made the remark while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, 2019 during Lok Sabha elections campaigning.
-With PTI Input