India, Oct. 10 -- Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday appeared before a Surat court in a defamation case and pleaded not guilty, reports news agency PTI.

BJP MLA Purnesh Modi had filed a complaint against Gandhi for his remark "why all thieves share the Modi surname" during Lok Sabha elections campaign earlier this year. Chief Judicial Magistrate B H Kapadia had in May issued summons to Gandhi after admitting the complaint.

Saying the defamation case filed against him was by his "political opponents, desperate to silence me", the Gandhi took to Twitter and thanked Congress workers for their "support and solidarity".

In his complaint, Purnesh Modi, the MLA? from Surat-West seat, had claimed Gandhi had defamed the entire Modi commun...