An Indian court on Thursday sentenced the former leader of the Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi, to two years in prison for defamation, but released him on bail the same day.
The Hindustan Times newspaper reported that the court suspended the execution of the sentence for 30 days to give Gandhi the opportunity to file an appeal to a higher authority and was granted bail in the sum of 10,000 rupees ($121).
A criminal defamation case against Gandhi was filed by a member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Purnesh Modi, in connection with his remark “how come all thieves have Modi as the common surname” dating back to 2019.
Gandhi’s lawyer emphasised that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have been the plaintiff in the case, since he was the initial target of the remark.
The Indian National Congress is the second largest political party in India and the country’s oldest political organisation.
The Congress used to be the ruling party for decades until its electoral defeat at the hands of the BJP in 2014.
The Indian National Congress currently serves as the leader of a centre-left United Progressive Alliance, which represents a number of states in the country.