Criminal defamation suits were filed before a local court today against Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Randeep Singh Surjewala by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) over their allegation that the bank was involved in a "scam" to convert "Rs 750 crore" within five days of demonetisation in 2016.
A plea filed by complainants--the ADCB and its chairman Ajay Patel--contended that the two leaders had levelled "false and defamatory allegations" against the bank.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate S K Gadhvi has ordered a court enquiry into the matter under section 202 of the CrPC (to enquire into the case to decide whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding).
The matter will be taken up on September 17.
Mr Gandhi and Mr Surjewala had reportedly alleged that the ADCB had received deposits of Rs 745.59 crore of demonetised currencies within five days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing the note ban, wherein higher denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 were scrapped, on November 8, 2016.
The allegations were made by Mr Gandhi and Mr Surjewala, days after NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) had issued a response to an RTI query filed by a Mumbai-based activist.
Mr Surjewala is the communication department in-charge of the Congress.
In the plea filed through their lawyer S V Raju, the ADCB and Patel submitted before the court that the statement made by both the Congress leaders was false because the bank did not exchange such a huge amount.
It further stated that the bank did not have such huge amount to exchange.
In a tweet, Mr Gandhi had said, "Congratulations Amit Shahji, Director, Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, on your bank winning 1st prize in the conversion of old notes to new race. Rs 750 crore in 5 days!
"Millions of Indians whose lives were destroyed by demonetisation, salute your achievement," he had said on Twitter.
Mr Surjewala had said, "We expect the prime minister will himself come forward and give answers on the charges against Amit Shah, whom he has appointed. There should be an independent time-bound probe into this entire scam".
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