Sonia
Congress party president Sonia Gandhi with her son, Congress party vice president Rahul GandhiAdnan Abidi/Reuters

A man in the south Indian state of Karnataka chopped off the little finger in his left hand as a thanksgiving to the Gods after Congress party leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were granted bail in the National Herald case. Induvalu Suresh, 35, a businessman of Ramanagaram, which is located 60km from Bangalore, after chopping off his finger, dropped it in a temple donation box.

"The entire Congress party was worried, when Sonia and Rahul were summoned by the court. I took a vow that if my leaders are granted bail I will offer my finger to God," Suresh told the Times of India. Suresh, who was accompanied by a friend, cut his finger when he visited the Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirupati, one of the richest Hindu temples. He later visited a hospital close to the temple for treatment. Sonia and Rahul were granted bail on 19 December and the finger incident took place on 25 December.

On 9 January, Suresh was called to the residence of Karnataka's housing minister M H Ambareesh, where he was told: "You [Induvalu Suresh] are Kalyug's Ekalavya. But we don't want sycophancy of pain." In the ancient Indian epic of Mahabharata, Ekalavya, an ace archer, had sacrificed his right thumb as a sign of loyalty towards his teacher Guru Dronacharya.

"I wrapped the finger in a Rs 1,000 (£10, $15) note with a letter thanking God for granting bail to Sonia and Rahul and dropped it in the hundi [donation box]. I did not feel the pain when I cut my finger. Later, I went to the hospital adjacent to the temple and told the doctor that I lost my finger while repairing the AC compressor of my car," Suresh said.

Suresh was asked by the minister: "Why did you do this? You could have taken a padayatra [travel long distances on foot] or shown your concern in some other way." Suresh replied: "I told Anna (Ambareesh) that all those are passe. I was perturbed that Sonia and Rahul would be sent to jail."

In the ongoing National Herald case, Sonia and Rahul along with their five associates have been accused of illegally acquiring property worth Rs 51.41m ($75m) belonging to the National Herald newspaper which went out of print in 2008.