A Surat court in Gujarat, presided over by Judge Robin Mogera, recently denied Rahul Gandhi’s appeal to postpone his conviction in a defamation lawsuit relating to his “Modi surname” statement made in 2019. For the time being, this ruling prevents Rahul Gandhi from being reinstated as a Member of Parliament. Judge Robin Mogera has previously represented Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the 2006 Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case.
Rahul Gandhi, 52, had asked the court to stay his conviction, which included a two-year jail sentence, claiming that the trial court had treated him unfairly because of his position as an MP. Judge Robin Mogera, on the other hand, determined that Gandhi had failed to establish any permanent or irrevocable harm done to him by not delaying the conviction and depriving him the right to run in the election.
Judge Mogera’s ties to Amit Shah have raised questions because he represented Shah in the fake encounter case while he was Gujarat’s home minister. Mogera represented Shah in the case until at least 2014, when it was heard in a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mumbai. With the Congress party asserting that Gandhi’s conviction and subsequent exclusion from the Lok Sabha are the product of the BJP’s purported vendetta politics, an unfavourable ruling by Judge Mogera might be interpreted as a conflict of interest.
The Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case involves an alleged interstate politician-police conspiracy, which resulted in the death of Prajapati, a 28-year-old “criminal.” The original chargesheet filed by the CBI included 37 individuals, including Amit Shah and numerous high-ranking IPS officials from Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh. However, all political figures and senior officers were ultimately dismissed from the prosecution, and the trial was limited to low-ranking police personnel.
As a judge with links to Amit Shah denies Rahul Gandhi’s request for a stay of his conviction, concerns about a potential conflict of interest in the case develop. The political ramifications of this judgement might exacerbate the Congress-BJP competition in the current political scene.