New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday apologised to the Supreme Court for incorrectly attributing the “chowkidar chor hai” remark to the top court. “My attribution the comment to SC was wrong. I made three errors and I apologise” Congress president’s counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi offered the apology on behalf of Gandhi. The development comes a day the Congress President filed a reply to the apex court’s notice on the issue, expressing regret for the comments.
Reprimanding the Congress president, the apex court said, “You have contradicted yourself in the affidavit. At one place, you admit your statement but on the other, you deny saying it. If you start arguing on the basis of this affidavit, we won’t give you another opportunity to file a better affidavit.”
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“He (Rahul Gandhi) claims to be a literate person. But in his affidavit he says, I didn’t read or analyse the order when I made this comment. Three hours later, he says it again at a different rally. What kind of regret is he talking about?”Mukul Rohatgi appearing for BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Meanwhile, Rahul will file an additional affidavit by May 6 (Monday) after which the matter will be taken up for hearing on the same day. The top court had last week issued a notice to him asking him to explain his comment.
Earlier on Monday, Gandhi had expressed regret again for “incorrectly” attributing his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remark to the Supreme Court. He had also accused BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi of trying to drag the court into a political controversy for “personal gains and political mileage” by moving the contempt petition against him.
Seeking dismissal of the contempt petition over his remark against the prime minister in his response to the Rafale verdict, Gandhi had filed a fresh affidavit reiterating that his statement was made in the “heat of political campaigning” and there was not the “slightest intention to insinuate” anything regarding the Supreme Court proceedings in any manner.
The apex court on April 15 gave a categorical clarification that in its Rafale verdict there was no occasion for it to make a mention of the contemptuous observation that ‘chowkidar Narendra Modi chor hain’ as has been attributed to it by Gandhi.
In response to the apex court’s order that asked him to give an explanation over his remarks, Gandhi, on April 22, filed an affidavit expressing “regret” over it.
On April 23, Rohatgi, told the bench that the word ‘regret’ was in a bracket and actually it was a “lip service of apology”.
How the controversy started
On April 10, soon after the Supreme Court verdict last week, Rahul had reportedly said, “I am ready to debate with PM Modi at a location of his choosing… the corruption in the deal is very evident… he has given IAF’s money to Anil Ambani. The SC order today proves that chowkidar chor hai .”
Following his remarks BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi filed the petition alleging that Rahul had committed contempt by attributing his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remarks on the Rafale controversy to the top court.
She had claimed that ‘the words used and attributed by him (Rahul Gandhi) to SC in the Rafale case has been made to appear something else. He is replacing his personal statement as the Supreme Court’s order and trying to create prejudice”.