Defamation case: Thane court exempts Rahul from appearance on Saturday

Thane, Jun 18 (PTI) A Thane court on Saturday allowed exemption from appearance to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a defamation suit filed by an RSS activist.

Bhiwandi Judicial Magistrate First Class LC Wadikar allowed the application for exemption for the day and adjourned the matter for August 6, Gandhi's counsel advocate Narayan Iyer told PTI.

In his application, Gandhi said his mother and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was in hospital and he needed exemption from appearance in court on Saturday to tend to her, he said.

Incidentally, the application for exemption from appearance of complainant Rajesh Kunte, who said he had suffered a leg fracture in a fall, was also allowed by the court.

Kunte's counsel, however, opposed Gandhi's plea for permanent exemption from appearance in court in the case, saying the latter was facing ED inquiries and that his plea for such exemption "creates doubt about the intention of the accused".

In a related development, Principal District Judge Abhay Mantri has designated the court of FCJM Bhiwandi LC Wadikar as a special court to try criminal cases pending against Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assembly and Council, past and present.