Congress president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday tendered an unconditional apology to the Supreme Court in connection with a contempt case against for wrongfully attributing the phrase ‘Chowkidar chor hai’ to the apex court verdict in the Rafale deal. Gandhi said he holds the Supreme Court in the “highest esteem and respect”, and sought closure of the criminal contempt proceedings filed against him by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi.
Gandhi filed a fresh three-page affidavit after being warned by the Supreme Court earlier that he either admit his mistake or face contempt action. The court had objected to his first affidavit in which he had expressed “regret” (for the attribution of the remark) within brackets. “The deponent (Rahul Gandhi) unconditionally apologises for the wrongful attributions to this court,” he said in his affidavit.
After Gandhi tendered his apology for attributing his remarks to the apex court, the Saffron party took a swipe at the Congress and said it showed the opposition party’s “political bankruptcy”.
“Rahul Gandhi had to apologise to the Supreme Court for attributing lies to the Supreme Court. Congress is a habitual liar. This is political bankruptcy. This is desperation,” BJP leader and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar told a press conference.
Hearing a plea by BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi seeking criminal contempt proceedings against Gandhi for his remark, the bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph had allowed him to file a fresh affidavit expressing apology but maintained that it will decide whether to accept the affidavit or not.
After the SC rejected the Centre’s objections to the admissibility of certain documents submitted by the review petitioners in the Rafale deal matter, Gandhi had said: “Supreme Court ne clear kar diya hai ki chowkidarji ne chori karwai (Supreme Court has made it clear that chowkidarji got the theft done)”.
On April 22, in an affidavit, Gandhi said his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ slogan “got intermingled with my comments on and references” to the Supreme Court order and “my statement was made in the heat of political campaigning”. Earlier, referring to Lekhi’s plea which said Gandhi had attributed his own statement about ‘chowkidar chor hai’ to the Supreme Court’s April 10 ruling, the CJI asked Singhvi: “Where have we said all these? How then can you attribute it to us?”.
When senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Gandhi, said he had expressed “complete regret”, CJI Gogoi told him: “Where have you expressed complete regret?… What is the meaning of expressing regret in brackets? Where is the apology in your affidavit?”.
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