Congress president Rahul Gandhi has finally tendered an unconditional apology to the Supreme Court for wrongly attributing the chowkidar chor hai jibe to the apex court. In the third affidavit since the matter was brought to court, Rahul finally apologised to the Supreme Court for "unintentionally" linking the top court's view in the Rafale review plea to his party's political slogan "chowkidar chor hai" aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He filed the three-page affidavit rendering the "unconditional apology". He also requested the top court to close the contempt proceedings against him based on a petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the matter on Friday.
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Rahul's apology comes after the Supreme Court took a firm view against the wording of the previous affidavits filed by him. The court felt that the filed replies made contrasting claims rather than clearly accepting that a mistake has been made.
The court allowed Rahul to file a new affidavit on Monday only after Rahul's lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi assured the bench that Rahul would apologise and that the rectified affidavit would contain the word apology.
The Congress chief had earlier filed two separate affidavits after the court took a favourable view of BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi's plea that the incorrect attribution amounted to contempt of court. However, both these documents were worded to say that Rahul had made those comments in the heat of the campaign and 'regretted' the fact that he attributed it to the court.'
The court was furious. "You are compelling us to say things now... We refrained from saying anything further on the last date but this is your second affidavit. We never said it.. You attributed the foment to us and now you are trying to justify (sic)?" CJI Ranjan Gogoi said. "We have great difficulty in understanding what you want to say in the affidavit," said the bench, also comprising justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.
Singhvi replied by saying Rahul has already expressed "complete regret" in this regard. However, the court shot down that argument and asked: "Is this how you express regret? Show us where is that complete regret? He claims to be a literate person. But in his affidavit he says, I didn't read or analyse the order when I made this comment. Three hours later, he says it again at a different rally. What kind of regret is he talking about?"
The bench also objected to the contradictions within the same affidavit. Though Rahul, through his counsel, admitted he made a mistake by wrongly attributing the remark to the apex court, the Supreme Court observed that he had failed to do so clearly in the written affidavit.
"You have contradicted yourself in the affidavit. At one place, you admit your statement but on the other, you deny saying it. If you start arguing on the basis of this affidavit, we won't give you another opportunity to file a better affidavit..." It was then that Singhvi, on behalf of Rahul, apologised. "I say sorry for attributing the chowkidar comment to the Supreme Court," Singhvi said.
It was then that the court allowed the Congress president another chance to reword his statement and gave him time till today. The matter will be heard next on 10 May.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: May 08, 2019 11:52:19 IST