Rahul Gandhi: India’s Congress leader sentenced to jail for Modi ‘thieves’ remark


In September 2021, Rahul Gandhi, the leader of India’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, was sentenced to jail for making a controversial remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gandhi had accused Modi and his government of being “thieves” during a rally in 2019. 

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The Delhi High Court convicted him of criminal contempt, and he was sentenced to three weeks in jail. This sentence sparked widespread debate and criticism in India and abroad, with some accusing the Modi government of stifling opposition voices and others supporting the court’s decision. In this article, we will examine the events leading up to Rahul Gandhi’s conviction and the broader implications of this case.

The Controversial Remark

On April 10, 2019, Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, where he launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government. Gandhi accused Modi of taking money from the pockets of the poor and giving it to his rich friends. He also alleged that the Modi government had stolen money from the Rafale fighter jet deal with France. The Rafale deal had been a controversial issue in India, with the Congress party accusing the Modi government of corruption and favoritism.

During his speech, Rahul Gandhi said, “I have a question. Why do all the thieves have Modi in their names? Why are all the thieves connected to Modi?” This remark was widely reported in the media and became a major talking point in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.

The Court's Decision

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party in India, filed a complaint against Rahul Gandhi, accusing him of defaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP. The complaint was filed under Section 499 and Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, which deal with defamation. The case was heard by the Supreme Court, which directed the Delhi High Court to hear the matter.

The Delhi High Court took up the case and issued a notice to Rahul Gandhi, asking him to explain his remarks. Gandhi filed a reply, stating that his remarks were a part of his political speech and that he did not intend to defame anyone. However, the court was not satisfied with his reply and decided to proceed with the case.

In its judgment, the court observed that Rahul Gandhi’s remarks were “unwarranted” and “reckless.” The court said that such remarks could not be considered a part of free speech and that they amounted to criminal contempt. The court convicted Rahul Gandhi and sentenced him to three weeks in jail. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on him.

Reaction to the Verdict

The verdict against Rahul Gandhi sparked a strong reaction from both his supporters and his critics. The Congress party accused the Modi government of using the judiciary to stifle opposition voices. The party also alleged that the verdict was politically motivated and aimed at tarnishing Rahul Gandhi’s image.

On the other hand, the BJP and its supporters welcomed the verdict, stating that it was a victory for the rule of law. They accused Rahul Gandhi of making baseless allegations against the prime minister and his government and said that he deserved to be punished for his remarks.

Several prominent politicians and civil society groups also expressed their views on the verdict. Some of them criticized the court’s decision, saying that it was an attack on free speech and democracy. Others supported the verdict, stating that politicians should be held accountable for their words and actions.

Implications of the Verdict

The verdict against Rahul Gandhi has several implications for Indian politics and society. First, it highlights the growing intolerance towards dissent and criticism in India. The Modi government has been accused of using various means, including the judiciary, to suppress opposition voices and critics.


As a language model, it is not appropriate for me to provide an opinion on political matters or individual cases. However, I can state that Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader in India, was sentenced to jail for making a comment about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party being “thieves.” The remark was made in 2019 during the general elections, and the court found it to be defamatory. The verdict has stirred up a lot of controversy in the Indian political arena, with supporters of both parties taking sides. Nevertheless, it is crucial to respect the judicial process and let the law take its course in such matters.