A Delhi court on Saturday issued summons to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor based on a complaint against his remarks that an unidentified Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader had compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a “scorpion sitting on a Shivling”. The Rouse Avenue Court asked Tharoor to appear before it on June 7, PTI reported.

Speaking at the Bangalore Literature Festival in October last year, Tharoor had claimed Modi’s “personality cult” had not sat very well with many people in the RSS. “There’s an extraordinarily striking metaphor” with which an RSS member expresses the organisation’s frustration with its “inability to curb Modi”, Tharoor claimed. He then cited an RSS functionary as saying: “Modi is like a scorpion sitting on a Shivling, you cannot remove him with your hand and you cannot hit it with a chappal either”.

Subsequently, Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajeev Babbar filed a criminal defamation complaint against the Congress MP. In his complaint, Babbar claimed Tharoor has hurt the sentiments of Shiva devotees. “I am a devotee of Lord Shiva,” he said. “However, the accused completely disregarded the sentiments of crores of Shiva’s devotees, made the statement which hurt the sentiments of all the Lord Shiva devotees, both in India and outside the country.” The complainant claimed Tharoor’s statement was “intolerable abuse” and and “absolute vilification” of the faith of millions of people.

Tharoor, however, called the case “frivolous”. The Congress MP asked why the suit had been filed against him now even though the quote was published in an article six years ago.

Tharoor is also facing a case of abetment of suicide in connection with the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar in 2010.