Rafale row: SC issues contempt notice to Rahul

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today issued contempt notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his remarks on the Rafale judgment, which the apex court had said were ‘incorrectly attributed’ to it.

The top court said it will hear on 30 April the criminal contempt petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi against Rahul along with the pending review petition against the 14 December, 2018 verdict in the Rafale jet deal.

The top court rejected the plea of Rahul to close the criminal contempt petition filed by Lekhi.

“On hearing senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi on behalf of Rajul in the contempt petition we deem it fit to issue notice to the respondent (Rahul) Gandhi,” a bench headed by Chief Justcie Ranjan Gogoi said.

“We also direct the registry to list the review petition along with the contempt petition next Tuesday,” the bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said.

On Monday, Rahul expressed regret for attributing the ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Supreme Court.

“The statement was made in the heat of political campaigning,” Rahul said in his reply to the Supreme Court.

Rahul apologised in his reply to the apex court notice in connection with a contempt petition filed against him by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the Rafale controversy.

The BJP had filed a petition in the Supreme Court after the Congress president hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally with ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remark.

After the Supreme Court announced its decision to allow leaked Rafale documents to review a previous judgment, Rahul had claimed a moral victory and said the court has made it clear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘committed theft’.

“The Supreme Court has made it clear that chowkidarji (watchman) has committed a theft,” Rahul had told reporters during his rally in Amethi.

The SC bench had issued a clarification that it had not made any remarks regarding the Prime Minister’s role in the Rafale deal.

NT Bureau