New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi today told the Supreme Court that he did not blame the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on the RSS or the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. Judges then indicated that they are likely to clear the Congress Vice-President of defamation charges next week on September 1.
The RSS is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP. It sued Mr Gandhi for defamation over a speech he gave in 2014 while campaigning in Maharashtra for the general election that his party lost abysmally.
Mr Gandhi, 46, was reported as saying that the RSS had assassinated Gandhiji. Today, his lawyer, former union minister Kapil Sibal, told judges that Mr Gandhi had not blamed the RSS as in institution for the killing of the Father of the Nation, but "people associated with it."
Mr Gandhi said his remark had been misinterpreted by the RSS worker who filed the initial complaint against him. He had last month refused to apologise and settle the case.
"I hope wisdom will prevail upon him and others not to make such offensive remarks against a nationalist organisation," said union minister and BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu.
The Supreme Court has asked the RSS complainant to offer his response next week. "We understand the accused never blamed RSS as the killer of Gandhi but a person associated with the RSS," the court said.
Last month, the top court warned Mr Gandhi that he was wrong if he had collectively blamed the RSS for the killing of Gandhiji in 1948 by Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse. After the assassination at Delhi's Birla House, the RSS was banned till it was exonerated. Godse was hanged.