A claim related to Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, has gone viral on social media. Sharing a post, netizens are claiming that Lekhi's father-in-law Pran Nath Lekhi was a traitor who defended Nathuram Godse, Mahatma Gandhi's assassin.
The claim went viral after the minister's recent statement on the farmers protesting against the three controversial agricultural laws. Multiple reports have pointed out that Lekhi compared the farmers to 'mawali'. Soon after, her statement triggered a controversy, following which the minister apologised.
Denouncing Lekhi for her derogatory remark on the protesting farmers, a Facebook user wrote in Hindi, "ये गद्दार प्राणनाथ लेखी की बहू मीनाक्षी लेखी है, प्राणनाथ वही गद्दार है जिसने गांधी जी के हत्यारे नाथूराम गोडसे को कोर्ट में सजा से बचाने के लिए भरसक प्रयास किया था..!! और ये मीनाक्षी लेखी वहीं गद्दार है, जिसने अन्नदाता को "मवाली" कहा था.." (This traitor is Meenakshi Lekhi, daughter-in-law of Pran Nath Lekhi. Pran Nath is the same traitor who tried his best to save Gandhiji's killer Nathuram Godse from punishment in court..!! And this Meenakshi Lekhi is the same traitor who had called farmers "Mawali").
Posts with the same claim are being widely circulated on Facebook.
Netizens claim that Meenakshi Lekhi's father-in-law Pran Nath Lekhi defended Nathuram Godse during trials in court.
The Logical Indian's Fact Check team verified the claim and found it to be false. It is a well-known fact that Godse refused to be represented by any lawyer and had represented himself during the trials.
Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead, in Delhi, by Nathuram Godse on January 30, 1948. Gandhi's assassination has been one of the most talked-about cases of independent India; therefore, the incident is well documented.
We found details about the case on the official website of the Central Information Commission. In response to an RTI, the information had been provided on the site. For this case, a special court was formed with Justice Atma Charan as the Special Judge. It also mentioned the name of the all lawyers involved in the case. It is noteworthy that nowhere there is any mention of Godse's lawyer or Pran Nath Lekhi.
(The details can be accessed on page no. 5 of the RTI file.)
We found an archived version of a book written by Gopal Godse, Nathuram's brother. In the book titled, 'May it please your honour Nathuram Godse', it is mentioned that Nathuram Godse presented his own case. A quote from Page No 20 read, "Nathuram preferred to argue his own case. He argued for two days without challenging his conviction under the murder charge."
We found an e-book on www.mkgandhi.org written by GD Khosla, former Chief Justice of Punjab, who heard Godse's appeals and others before giving the verdict in the assassination.
In the book titled 'The murder of the Mahatma', it is mentioned that Nathuram Godse declined to be represented by a lawyer. A quote from Page No 19 reads, "Nathuram Godse had declined to be represented by a lawyer and had made a prayer that he should be permitted to appear in person and argue his appeal himself. This prayer had been granted, and so he stood in a specially constructed dock. His small defiant figure with flashing eyes and close-cropped hair offered a remarkable and immediately noticeable contrast to the long row of placid and prosperous-looking lawyers who represented his accomplices."
We also looked for any kind of connection between Nathuram Godse and Pran Nath Lekhi but could not find any. It is evident from the RTI response and excerpts from the books that there was no relation between the two.
This claim had also gone viral in the year 2018. At that time, Meenakshi had denied it and said she would take the matter to the police.
Therefore, we conclude that the viral claim that Meenakshi Lekhi's father-in-law Pran Nath Lekhi defended Nathuram Godse in court is false.
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