Rahul expresses regret over Rafale statement in Supreme Court

Vicky Nanjappa

New Delhi, Apr 22: Congress president Rahul Gandhi has told the Supreme Court that he regrets his remark made in connection with the Rafale case.

Rahul Gandhi filed his reponse in connection with a contempt plea that was filed against him by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi.

He said he regretted making the statement, 'SC has agreed that PM Modi has indulged in corruption in Rafale deal.' He said that the statement was made in the heat of political campaign.

Also Read | Rahul's comments on Rafale not part of our observations: SC

"My statement was made in the heat of political campaigning. My political opponents wrongly projected that I had deliberately and intentionally suggested that SC had said 'Chowkidar Chor hai". Nothing could be farther from my mind," Rahul Gandhi also said.

"It is also clear that no court would ever do that (say Chowkidar Chor hai) and hence the unfortunate references (for which I express regret) to the court order and to the political juxtaposition in the same breath in the heat of the political campaigning, he also said.

Lekhi, who is a sitting Lok Sabha MP from New Delhi constituency, in her plea alleged that Gandhi has attributed his personal remarks to the top court and tried to create prejudice.

At the outset, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Lekhi, said it is a gross case of contempt committed by Gandhi who incorrectly attributed some remarks to the apex court about its judgement on Rafale case.

Rohatgi said Gandhi had come out in the public to make a remark that the "Supreme Court in its judgement said "Chowkidar Narendra Modi chor hain"

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The bench said, "You were right to the extent we never said what has been brought in the petition. We will seek clarification".

After making the remarks, the bench dictated the order.

The Congress president had on April 10 claimed that the apex court has made it "clear" that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "committed a theft".

He had made the statement while interacting with reporters in Amethi after filing his nomination papers where he is contesting against BJP leader and union minister Smriti Irani.

Gandhi had also recalled a recent interview by the Prime Minister, in which Modi had said the Supreme Court had given a clean chit to his government on the Rafale deal.

The apex court, which had earlier cleared the Modi government of accusations of corruption over the Rafale deal with France, on April 9 said it will hear a review petition on the basis of the new documents, referred to by petitioners.

It had on April 10 allowed the plea of petitioners relying on leaked documents for seeking review of its Rafale judgement and dismissed the government's preliminary objections claiming "privilege" over them.

"I am happy and I have been saying so for months that Hindustan's PM has given the air force money to (industrialist) Anil Ambani, and the SC has accepted it. The SC is going to investigate it," Gandhi had said.

Also Read | Rahul 'misinterpreting' SC order amounts to 'contempt of court', says Sitharaman

"I want to thank the SC. It's a very happy day. The SC has talked about justice. Justice has prevailed," he had added.

The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.

Rahul expresses regret over Rafale statement in Supreme Court.

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