New Delhi, April 15: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi for using 'chowkidar chor hai' phrase against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the Rafale deal. A plea was filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi seeking contempt action against the Congress president. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi asked Rahul Gandhi to file a response within seven days.
In the plea, Lekhi said that Gandhi misquoted apex court’s December 14 ruling on the deal. On April 12, Mukul Rohatgi, representing Lekhi in the top court had said that Gandhi made a remark saying, "Supreme Court has said, chowkidaar chor hai" in the verdict. Last year on December 14, the top court had dismissed all petitions seeking a probe into the pricing of multi-million dollar Rafale fighter jets deal. A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, said there was "nothing questionable" in the decision-making process for the Rafale deal.
Meanwhile, on April 10, the top court dismissed an objection plea filed by the Centre in the Rafale case. A bench of headed by CJI Gogoi refused to accept the government’s ‘stolen document’ plea. The top court accepted the new documents to be included in the review petition filed against its December 14 verdict.
The Congress president has been targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government over the Rafale deal with France and asking why a 70-year-old defence public sector company Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was ignored for manufacturing the fighter jet. Gandhi also questioned the government how the cost of one aircraft, which was Rs 540 crore in the proposed deal by the UPA government, rose to thrice its value to Rs 1,600 crore under the BJP-led government at the Centre.