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Rahul Gandhi tenders unconditional apology for attributing 'chowkidar chor hai' remarks to SC

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 8, 2019  | 14:43 IST

(Eds: Adding background, details) New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) Congress president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday tendered unconditional apology in the Supreme Court for wrongfully attributing to the apex court the 'chowkidar chor hai' remark in the Rafale verdict. He also sought closure of the criminal contempt proceedings against him on a petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi. In a fresh three-page affidavit, Gandhi said he holds the apex court in the "highest esteem and respect" and that he has never sought to do anything which interferes with the process of administration of justice. "The deponent (Rahul Gandhi) unconditionally apologises for the wrongful attributions to this court. The deponent further states that any such attributions were entirely unintentional, non-wilful and inadvertent," Gandhi said in his affidavit. "The deponent most respectfully prays that this court may be graciously pleased to accept the instant affidavit and close the present contempt proceedings," the affidavit stated. Gandhi also said the affidavit is made "bona fide and in the interest of justice, and nothing material has been concealed therefrom". "At the outset the deponent herein most respectfully submits that he holds this court in the highest esteem, and respect. The deponent has never sought or intended to, directly or indirectly, commit any act that it interferes with the process of administration of justice," the Congress chief said in his affidavit. BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who filed the contempt petition against Gandhi, had alleged that he has attributed his personal remarks to the top court and tried to create prejudice. Gandhi made the remarks on April 10, the day the apex court had dismissed the Centre's preliminary objections over the admissibility of certain documents for supporting the review petitions against the December 14 last year verdict in the Rafale case. The apex court on April 15 had given a categorical clarification that in its Rafale verdict there was no occasion for it to make a mention of the contemptuous observation that "chowkidar Narendra Modi chor hain" as has been attributed to it by Gandhi. Gandhi, who had earlier filed an affidavit following the formal notice issued to him by the apex court on Lekhi's petition, had written the word "regret" in bracket. The apex court had rebuked Gandhi for not admitting his mistake and had given him another opportunity to file a better affidavit relating to his remark. "When you commit mistake, you should admit the mistake," the court had said pointing out that in his previous affidavit, at one point, Gandhi was admitting the mistake and at another denying having made the contemptuous remarks. "We have great difficulty in understanding what you want to say in the affidavit," the court had said. Gandhi in his explanations had said that his statement was made in the "heat of political campaigning" and there was not the "slightest intention to insinuate" anything regarding the Supreme Court proceedings in any manner. He said his April 10 statement was made in purely political context to counter the "misinformation campaign" being led by senior BJP functionaries as well as the government that the apex court verdict on December 14 last year was a "clean chit" to the Centre regarding all the aspects of the Rafale deal. Gandhi had clarified that he did not have the "slightest or remotest intention, desire or even thought process, to bring the court into the political arena or bring it into disrepute or attribute to it deliberately or willfully that which the court had not said or meant". He had also said that his statement was made during a "political campaign without a readable copy of the Supreme Court order" being available on its website and he had neither seen nor read the order. Gandhi, who said that he was a responsible political and public figure heading a 130-year-old political party, had sought dismissal of Lekhi's plea saying it was an "abuse of process" of the court. PTI ABA SJK MNL LLP SA

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