New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday in an affidavit tendered his “unconditional apology” to the Supreme Court for “unintentionally” linking the top court in the Rafale review plea to his party’s political slogan “chowkidar chor hai” aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rahul Gandhi filed the three-page affidavit rendering the “unconditional apology”.  In the three-page affidavit, the Congress chief 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.

“The deponent (Rahul Gandhi) unconditionally apologises for the wrongful attributions to this court,” Gandhi said in his affidavit. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the matter on Friday.

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday had pulled up the Congress president’s counsel even after he verbally apologised for incorrectly attributing to the top court his “chowkidar chor hai” remark.

The counsel told the court that his client would apologise for attributing the remark to the top court. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi observed that it was extending a third opportunity to Rahul Gandhi.

Gandhi’s counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi offered the apology on behalf of his client a day after the Congress president filed a reply to the apex court’s notice on the issue, in which he had only expressed regret for the remark. In his affidavit, Gandhi said he had made the remark in the “heat of campaigning” and that his comment was not meant to scandalise the court in any manner.

The CJI queried the Gandhi’s counsel, “What is the meaning of expressing regret within brackets…and you take 22-page affidavit to express regret…”

During the hearing, Gandhi’s counsel made several attempts to defend the affidavit and informed the court he would file a fresh affidavit. “Have you given up convincing us?” asked the court.

Advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who filed the contempt plea against Gandhi had said, “This is gross contempt…he (Gandhi) while campaigning made these derogatory remarks, and it was similar to putting words in SC”s mouth.” Rohtagi also said that Gandhi in the garb of apex court judgement sought to portray as if “Supreme Court has said that PM is a thief, and people should believe it, as the top court has said it.”

 

With inputs from agencies