New Delhi: Facing a contempt notice for his remarks in the Rafale deal case, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court but has refused to apologise once again.
Expressing regret for attributing the ‘chowkidar chor hai’ slogan to the top court, Gandhi in his affidavit said he had no intention of dragging the court into the political arena, and claimed that the petitioner, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, was seeking political mileage under the pretext of contempt proceedings.
The court had last week refused to lay the matter to rest and said it would hear the contempt plea against Gandhi together with the petitions seeking review of its December verdict on the Rafale fighter jet deal with France on Tuesday, April 30.
The court has exempted Gandhi from making a personal appearance in the case.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi, had submitted that as Gandhi had not offered any apology for attributing the ‘Chowkidar Chor hai’ remark to the court, a contempt case should be initiated against him.
Rohatgi said expressing regret was not an apology in the eyes of the law and “contrition has to be expressed at first instance and unequivocally”.
In reply, senior lawyer AM Singhvi said Gandhi had expressed regret for wrongfully mixing up Chowkidar remarks along with his comments on SC verdict in Rafale review petitions. He said it was a political slogan and attributed to the court “in the heat of the political campaign”.
Singhvi also submitted that PM Narendra Modi had also misquoted the judgment to state that the court had given clean chit to him in Rafale corruption allegations.
On April 15, the top court had sought Gandhi's explanation on a petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who sought criminal contempt proceedings against the Congress president for wrongfully attributing statements to the apex court.
Gandhi had made the statement after the SC decided on April 10 to reject the preliminary objections of Centre against admitting “stolen” documents produced by review petitioners and to hear Rafale review purely on merits.