Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday pleaded not guilty in a criminal defamation suit filed against him for calling Union Home Minister Amit Shah a “murder accused”, PTI reported. The court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate RB Etaliya in Ahmedabad granted Gandhi bail on a bond of Rs 10,000.

Gandhi’s lawyer moved a petition for personal exemption of his client in the case, after the court recorded his not guilty plea. The court said the matter would be heard next on December 7, when the application for personal exemption from the case will be considered.

Gandhi had called Shah a murder accused during a Lok Sabha election rally in Jabalpur in Rajasthan in April, with reference to the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. Following this, Bharatiya Janata Party corporator Krishnavadan Brahmbhatt filed a suit against the Congress leader. In May, the metropolitan magistrate had issued summons seeking Gandhi’s appearance in the suit.

Three defamation cases currently exist against Gandhi. On Thursday, Gandhi pleaded not guilty before a court in Surat, in a defamation case filed against him for asking at a rally in Kolar, Karnataka as to why all thieves share the Modi surname. BJP MLA from Surat, Purnesh Modi had filed a complaint against the Congress leader for defaming the entire Modi community.

A defamation complaint has also been registered against Gandhi for alleging that the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, of which Shah is the director, was involved in a scam during demonetisation.

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