A Ranchi court on Wednesday rejected Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s plea seeking to exempt himself from physically appearing for the hearing in a defamation case against him for his remark about the Modi surname, ANI reported.

The case relates to one of the many that arose from Gandhi’s speech in Karnataka’s Kolar while campaigning for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress leader had referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and fugitive Indian businessmen Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi while talking about alleged high-level corruption in the country.

“Why all the thieves, be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi or Narendra Modi, have Modi in their names?” Gandhi had questioned.

In Jharkhand, a person by the name of Pradeep Modi had filed a defamation case against the Congress leader.

On March 23, a court in Gujarat sentenced Gandhi to two years’ imprisonment in a criminal defamation case filed in the same matter by BJP leader and Surat West MLA Purnesh Modi. This led to his disqualification from the Lok Sabha. On Tuesday, the Gujarat High Court refused to grant Gandhi interim protection from conviction.

The former Congress leader, however, got relief from the Patna High Court on April 24 in another case filed by BJP leader Sushil Modi. The High Court stayed the defamation proceedings noting that Gandhi has already been convicted for the remarks in Gujarat and cannot be put on trial for the same matter again.