A court in Surat in Gujarat on Thursday held Congress leader Rahul Gandhi guilty in a 2019 criminal defamation case filed in connection with his "Modi surname" remarks.

The Court sentenced the Congress leader to two years imprisonment. However, the Court granted bail and the sentence has been suspended for 30 days.

The case was filed against Gandhi for his alleged “how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?” remarks on a complaint lodged by BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi.

The Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad made the remarks while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Varma had last week concluded hearing final arguments from both sides and set March 23 to pronounce its judgment in the four-year-old defamation case.

TN CM expresses solidarity with Rahul

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Thursday expressed his solidarity with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, and accused the BJP of trampling democratic rights.

Even as the Congress staged a rail roko in Kumbakonam and Virudhachalam in the State while its lawmakers resorted to a "black band" protest condemning the sentencing of party leader Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case, the Chief Minister said he spoke to "brother" Rahul Gandhi and conveyed his solidarity.

"It's highly deplorable & unprecedented that a leader like Thiru @RahulGandhi is convicted for a comment which he himself said it was not made with blameworthy mind," he said in a tweet.

"BJP's targeting of opposition parties has now landed in trampling of democratic rights and such atrocities will see its end. I spoke with brother #RahulGandhi and conveyed my solidarity. I'm confident that justice will win ultimately!" Stalin said in another tweet.