Bengaluru, February 23: A city court on Friday summoned former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, and Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar to appear personally before it on March 28 in connection with a case filed by the BJP. Special judge J Preeth also directed the registration of a criminal case against the accused persons, including the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee.

The BJP had accused the Congress leaders of putting out false advertisements against its party leaders, including the then Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. During the Karnataka Assembly elections last year, the Congress accused the BJP of "40 percent corruption" and placed several advertisements in newspapers alleging corruption by the then ruling party. PM Narendra Modi Slams Rahul Gandhi for His Drunkard Youth Remark, Says ‘Congress Leader Venting Frustration on Youth of Uttar Pradesh’ (Watch Video)

Also, a poster campaign was launched targeting Bommai by displaying 'PayCM' posters with the then CM's images across the city. The Congress also published a 'corruption rate card' against the former government. The BJP filed a defamation case against the Congress leaders after the Assembly elections, alleging that the advertisements damaged the party's image. ‘Naani Ko Nanihaal Ka Haal Suna Rahe Hain’: Rahul Gandhi Questions PM Narendra Modi Silence Over Paper Leak (Watch Video)

Vinod Kumar, the BJP's lawyer, argued in court that the "false" advertisements had harmed the BJP's reputation. After hearing the arguments, the 42nd Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court ordered the Congress leaders to appear before it on March 28 in connection with the case.