A court in Surat on Thursday issued summons to Rahul Gandhi in response to a criminal defamation suit filed by a Gujarat MLA over the Congress president’s “how come all thieves have Modi as common surname” remark. Also Read - Rahul Gandhi Takes Dig at BJP For Free Vaccine Poll Promise, Shashi Tharoor Calls it Appalling

Chief Judicial Magistrate of Surat, BH Kapadia, issued summons to Gandhi, directing him to be present before the court on June 7. Also Read - Wear Masks, Maintain Social Distancing: Modi in Message to Bengal For Durga Puja Festivities | Highlights

The complaint against Gandhi was filed by BJP legislator Purnesh Modi, on April 16 under IPC sections 499 and 500 that deal with defamation. Also Read - Give Concrete Solutions, Not Plain Speeches: Congress Slams PM Modi Over His Address to Nation

In his complaint, the MLA from Surat-West seat claimed the Congress president was defaming the entire Modi community by saying all “Modis are thieves”.

He was referring to an election rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, where Gandhi asked, “Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi…how come they all have Modi as common surname. How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?”

While talking to reporters after filing his defamation suit last month, Purnesh Modi had claimed that Gandhi’s remark has defamed the entire Modi community.

“There are a large number of people with Modi surname. Does it mean all members of the Modi community are thieves? He has defamed the community and also me as I carry the surname. This is why we have moved a complaint (against Gandhi) in a Surat court under IPC sections 499 and 500,” the MLA had said.

A court in Ahmedabad had Wednesday issued summons to Gandhi in response to a criminal defamation suit filed by a BJP worker for calling BJP chief Amit Shah a “murder accused”.