Election Watch: Ahmedabad court says prima facie Congress statement defamed District Cooperative Bank

PW Bureau

The matter pertains to a statement made by the duo where Rahul Gandhi and Randeep Surjewala had said that Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank was involved in dubious transactions in the aftermath of demonetisation

Ahmedabad: A metropolitan court in Ahmedabad has said that there is a prima facie case of defamation in the case filed by Chairman of Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, Ajay Patel, against Congress president Rahul Gandhi and spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. The matter pertains to a statement made by the duo where both Gandhi and Surjewala had said that the co-op bank was involved in dubious transactions in the aftermath of demonetisation. The matter was taken up by Patel, who is believed to be a close aide of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief whip Amit Shah and a criminal defamation case was filed against the two leaders.

Patel argued that because of the statement made by Gandhi and Surjewala, the bank’s business could suffer as it might lead to doubts in customers’ minds. The bank chairman said that the Congress leaders had defamed the bank and the bank would have to safeguard its honour.

Court asks Gandhi and Surjewala to appear before it

The court has issued summons to Gandhi and Surjewala and has asked them to appear before it on May 27. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate SK Gadhvi had ordered a court enquiry into the matter under Section 202 of the CrPC.

What actually happened?

The Congress has had its guns trained on Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank for the last two years when former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan accused BJP president Shah of being part of a nexus which ensured huge deposit of demonetised currency notes at the bank. An RTI query had revealed that the bank had recorded the highest deposits among co-op banks of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes during demonetisation.

Gandhi had tweeted that it was a scam totalling more than Rs 745 crore. Congress had demanded a white paper on the matter and had asked for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the deposits. It had also demanded the Gujarat state government to release footage of the CDs of the CCTV cameras installed at the Ashram Road Branch, which is the headquarter of the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank.