Defamation case: Siddaramaiah, DK Shivakumar get bail, Rahul yet to appear

Rahul Gandhi’s counsel argued that the Congress leader’s absence was not intentional.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah, and Deputy CM DK Shivakumar
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah, and Deputy CM DK ShivakumarExpress photo

BENGALURU: The 42nd Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court on Saturday granted bail to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar in a defamation case filed by the BJP.

Judge KN Shivakumar directed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to appear before him on June 7 without fail.

The BJP had filed a private complaint accusing these leaders of defaming it through advertisements in newspapers on May 5, 2023, ahead of Assembly elections in the state.

Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar, who are accused No. 2 and 3, respectively, submitted applications seeking bail.

Rahul, accused No 4, did not appear before the court on Saturday despite an exemption from appearance given to him on April 29. He sought one more exemption stating that he could not appear because of a meeting of I.N.D.I.A. leaders.

BJP’s counsel objected to Rahul’s application stating that he had already been given an exemption. He cannot escape from appearance as all are equal before law. The court should not exempt him from appearance and issue a warrant against him, he argued.

Rahul’s counsel argued that the Congress leader’s absence was not intentional. The court has the power to give exemptions as per the latest judgment of the apex court, he said.

In the complaint, the BJP alleged that as the state president of a political party, Shivakumar released advertisements on May 5, 2023, to all newspapers in which he made baseless and false allegations against it.

The accused 1 to 4, (KPCC, Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah and Rahul Gandhi) have conspired and planned to defame BJP by levelling false allegations, the complaint stated. The accused made baseless allegations against the BJP by releasing advertisements under the title, “Corruption Rate Card”, the counsel said.

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. Shivakumar said the Congress party’s advertisements were based on statements made by BJP leaders, which were reported in the media. He asserted that the party is prepared to handle the legal challenge, noting the BJP leaders’ claims about substantial payments for the CM’s post and other positions.

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