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SC issues contempt notice to Rahul Gandhi for 'chowkidar chor hai' remark on Rafale verdict; next hearing on 30 April

In a major setback for the Congress, the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a contempt notice to party president Rahul Gandhi for 'incorrectly' attributing his chowkidar chor hai jibe on Rafale deal verdict to the top court.

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.

"On hearing senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi on behalf of Gandhi in the contempt petition we deem it fit to issue notice to the respondent (Rahul) Gandhi," a bench headed by Chief Justice 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.

 SC issues contempt notice to Rahul Gandhi for chowkidar chor hai remark on Rafale verdict; next hearing on 30 April

File image of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Earlier on Monday, the Congress president had filed his response to the apex court's notice on his comments, saying that he had made the 'chowkidar chor hai' remarks "in the heat of the moment".

In his reply, Rahul said he got "carried away" during campaigning and accused the media "mingling" his words. He expressed regret for dragging the top court's name into the comments he made a week ago and also admitted that the Supreme Court had never used the phrase "chowkidar chor hai".

Rahul had also assured the bench that he will not attribute his political views to the court unless it made any such statement itself.

Soon after Rahul filed his affidavit in court, the BJP claimed the Congress chief's apology was proof of vindication in the case, and that Rahul stands "exposed" on his "blatant lies and false claims" made with regard to the Rafale case.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday filed his response to the Supreme Court's notice on his comments on the sub-judice case of the Rafale fighter jet deal, saying he had made the 'chowkidar chor hai' remarks "in the heat of the moment".

On 12 April, Meenakshi Lekhi had moved the top court, seeking contempt action against Rahul for allegedly attributing to the top court his own remarks on the Rafale verdict and trying to create prejudice.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Apr 23, 2019 13:19:19 IST