Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was issued summonses by two Gujarat courts on Tuesday in criminal defamation complaints filed by BJP leaders for allegedly calling Union Minister Amit Shah a 'murder accused' and saying that 'all thieves have Modi as surname'.
Chief Judicial Magistrate B.H Kapadia in Surat asked Rahul to appear on July 16, while an Ahmedabad court ordered the Congress leader to appear on August 9.
In both the cases, the courts issued summonses holding that on the face of it there was a case of criminal defamation against Gandhi under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code.
Rahul Gandhi is facing several cases of defamation.
Last week, he appeared in courts in Mumbai and Patna and was granted bail. He had alleged that the cases were filed by his political opponents to 'harass and intimidate' him.
The Surat court was on Tuesday hearing a complaint of BJP legislator Purnesh Modi who alleged that the Congress leader had defamed the entire Modi community with his remark that "how come all thieves have Modi as common surname" made during the Lok Sabha campaign.
On May 2, the court had ordered that summons be issued to Gandhi through the Speaker of Lok Sabha as he was an MP. But since there was no clarity over who would be the Speaker post-election, no summons was issued, said Purnesh Modi's lawyer Hasmukh Lalwala.
He had filed an application seeking that the court issue a summons which could be directly served on Rahul Gandhi, which was accepted by the court on Tuesday, the lawyer said.
(with news agency inputs)