Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi appeared before a magisterial court on Thursday (October 10) in Surat.Twitter

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who appeared before a magisterial court at 11 am on Thursday (October 10) in Surat, pleaded not guilty to the charges in connection with a criminal defamation case over Modi surname remark.

The Congress leader defended himself during the hearing in the case by saying that he didn't say anything wrong when he said: "all thieves share Modi as common surname" at a public rally in Karnataka earlier this year. Gandhi's lawyers also filed an application for a permanent exemption from future court proceedings in the next hearings.

The court deferred till December 10 the hearing on the defamation case filed by RSS and BJP workers against Rahul Gandhi, saying that the Congress leader was not required to be present in court for that hearing.

Rahul Gandhi in surat
Rahul Gandhi in Surat.

The 49-year-old Wayanad MP took to Twitter today morning saying: "I am in Surat today to appear in a defamation case filed against me by my political opponents, desperate to silence me. I am grateful for the love and support of the Congress workers who have gathered here to express their solidarity with me."

Rahul Gandhi tweet

News agency ANI quoted Congress leader Ahmed Patel saying: "He was summoned so he has come here. Let the law take its own course. We will see when the court takes a decision. Whatever the judge says will be done."

The former Congress President, who went on a four-day trip to Cambodia to attend a meditation camp ahead of the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections on October 21, was welcomed by party workers in Surat.

It was on April 13th when Rahul Gandhi attended a campaign rally at Kolar in Karnataka and said, "Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi... how come they all have Modi as common surname? How come all thieves have Modi as common surname?"