Congress chief Rahul Gandhi
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.Reuters

Congress president Rahul Gandhi appeared before a court in Mumbai in connection with a defamation case filed by an RSS worker against him for allegedly linking journalist Gauri Lankesh's killing with the "BJP-RSS ideology".

New agency ANI reported that Gandhi has pleaded not guilty and has been released on Rs 15,000 surety amount. Former MP Eknath Gaikwad has given surety for the Congress leader.

The Congress leader was summoned by the Mazgaon metropolitan magistrate's court in February this year, in response to a private complaint filed by Dhrutiman Joshi, a lawyer and worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS.

Along with Gandhi, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury was also summoned.

Back in 2017, Joshi had filed a complaint against Rahul Gandhi, his mother Sonia Gandhi, and Sitaram Yechury.

According to a news agency, a private complaint is filed to seek directions from the court to the police to investigate a particular matter.

Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru in September 2017. Within 24 hours of Gauri Lankesh's death, the Congress chief told reporters that "anybody who speaks against the ideology of the BJP, against the ideology of the RSS, is pressured, beaten, attacked, and even killed."

Complaint Joshi also said that Sitaram Yechury stated that it was the RSS' ideology and RSS people who killed the journalist.

The court issued summons against Rahul Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury but dismissed the complaint against Sonia Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi is reportedly facing another defamation case at Bhiwandi in neighbouring Thane district, filed by a local RSS worker, for allegedly blaming the Sangh for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.