The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued contempt notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing the ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remark to the court’s April 10 order in the Rafale deal case.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi directed that the contempt petition filed by BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi against Gandhi be listed for hearing on April 30, along with petitions seeking review of the court’s December 14 verdict on the fighter jet deal.
The bench also comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Deepak Gupta, said that after hearing the Congress president’s lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the court deemed it fit to issue notice to Gandhi.
Appearing for Lekhi, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi submitted that Gandhi, in his response to the contempt plea, had on Monday admitted having made a wrong statement while talking to the media in Amethi on April 10.
The Congress president had in his affidavit also disclosed that he had not read the order while making the remark, Rohatgi told the court.
During the proceedings, Singhvi said, “Rahul Gandhi had been humble to admit his mistake and express his regret by filing a detailed affidavit on Monday.”
He requested the court to close the case to prevent political parties opposing Gandhi from taking political mileage.
The Congress president had expressed regret for attributing his “chowkidar chor hai” remark to the apex’s court, saying he had made the comment in the “heat” of the election campaign “without seeing, reading or analysing the order”.
The court had on April 10 dismissed the Centre’s preliminary objections claiming “privilege” over three Rafale documents cited in petitions seeking review of the December 14 verdict on the fighter deal.
In a unanimous judgement, the court had allowed the admissibility of the three documents and said the review pleas will be heard on merits.