NEW DELHI – Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday expressed regret in the Supreme Court for incorrectly attributing his ‘Chowkidar Narendra Modi chor hai’ remarks to the top court’s verdict in the Rafale case.
In response to a contempt petition filed against him in the SC, Rahul said that the statement was made in the heat of the political campaign and the remarks were “misused by his opponents”.
In his affidavit, Rahul said his statements against Modi were made during political campaign when he had not seen or read the SC order of April 10, adding there was not the slightest intention to insinuate anything regarding the court proceedings.
The Congress boss added he had made the “rhetorical statements” relying upon electronic and social media reportage and the version of workers and activists surrounding him.
BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi, a sitting Lok Sabha MP from New Delhi constituency, had moved the apex court, alleging that Gandhi attributed his personal remarks to the top court and tried to create a prejudice.
The apex court, which last December cleared the Modi government of allegations of irregularities over the Rafale deal with France, on April 10 said it will hear a review petition on the basis of some ‘leaked’ documents, referred to by the petitioners who have demanded a probe. It dismissed the government’s preliminary objections claiming “privilege” over them.
After the court decision, Gandhi had said, “I am happy and I have been saying so for months that India’s PM has given the Air Force’s money to (industrialist) Anil Ambani, and the SC has accepted it. The SC is going to investigate it.”
After hearing Lekhi’s petition, the top court gave a categorical clarification that in its Rafale judgment there was no occasion for it to make a mention of the alleged contemptuous observation that “Chowkidar Narendra Modi chor hai” as has been attributed to it by Gandhi.
“We make it clear that views, observations, findings attributed to this court in the alleged speeches, remarks made by Gandhi to media/public have been incorrectly attributed to this court. We also make it clear that this court had no occasion to make such observation in as much as it was deciding legal admissibility of certain documents which were objected by the attorney general,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
The Supreme Court had directed the Congress chief to give an explanation for his statement.