New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its orders on the Rafale review petitions against its December 2018 judgment and on the contempt petition filed against Rahul Gandhi for attributing ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ remark to the apex court.

Earlier on Monday, the Centre had told the SC that ‘categorical and emphatic’ findings recorded by the top court in its December 14, 2018, last year verdict in the Rafale deal case has no apparent error warranting its review. Slamming the petitioners, the Centre further stated that the scope of the review petition is ‘extremely limited’. It also alleged the demand for review petition is based on press reports and incomplete internal file notings procured unauthorisedly and illegally.

“The review petition…is an attempt to get a fishing and roving inquiry ordered, which this court has specifically declined to go into based on the perception of individuals. A non-existent distinction is sought to be created between an inquiry by the CBI and the court by playing on words,” the Centre’s affidavit said.

The Centre pointed out that all papers and files have been made available to the CAG who has given his report “concluding that the price of 36 Rafale is 2.86 per cent lower than the audit aligned price, apart from additional benefits which would accrue because of change from a firm and fixed pricing to non-firm price.” It said that waiver of a sovereign or bank guarantee in government-to-government agreements or contracts is not unusual.

Notably, the plea seeking review of the December 14 verdict and a probe into the alleged irregularities in the multi-crore Rafale fighter jet deal has been filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist-advocate Prashant Bhushan.

On the other hand, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court, tendering his “unconditional apology” for “unintentionally” attributing certain comments of his to the top court and pleaded for the closure of the contempt proceedings in the matter.

Gandhi had been asked by the apex court to apologise for incorrectly saying that it had said “chowkidar chor hai” (the watchman is a thief), a euphemism the Congress chief uses to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the context of the Rafale fighter jet deal.

In a three-page affidavit, Gandhi said, “The deponent unconditionally apologises for the wrongful attribution to the court. The deponent further states that any such attributions were entirely unintentional, non-wilful and inadvertent.”

Stating that he has “never sought or intended to, directly or indirectly, commit any act that interferes with the process of the administration of justice”, he requested the court to close the contempt proceedings against him, a petition regarding which has been filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi.

 

With inputs from agencies