Congress president Rahul Gandhi has tendered unconditional apology to the Supreme Court for 'unintentionally' and ‘inadvertently’ linking the top court’s Rafale order to his 'chowkidar chor hai' jibe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Earlier, Gandhi had said that 'Chowkidar chor hai' comment after Rafale order was said in 'heat of political campaigning'. He also added that his remark was used and misused by political opponents. In his affidavit, Gandhi said that he ‘never sought to or intended to, directly or indirectly, commit any act that interferes with the process of administration of justice.’
Gandhi’s ‘unconditional apology’ came following contempt plea filed by BJP lawmaker Meenakshi Lekhi in connection with the issue. During the last hearing, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in fact asked, “who is chowkidar.” Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi appeared in the court on behalf of petitioner Meenakshi Lekhi. During the proceedings, Rohtagi said that, “Rahul Gandhi has done a lip service in the name of apology.”
"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 had said.
Earlier, in a reply to the top court, Gandhi had said that he ‘regrets’ the remark and admitted that 'Chowkidar chor hai' after Rafale order was said in 'heat of political campaigning'. He also added that his remark was used and misused by political opponents. During an interaction with media after his roadshow in Amethi, the Congress president had claimed that that the apex court’s order had made it "clear" that the Prime Minister "committed a theft".
It triggered accusations from the BJP that this was gross contempt of court. "The Congress president probably doesn't read even half a paragraph of the court's order, but here, by saying that the court has said 'chowkidaar chor hai', it is verging on contempt of court," Sitharaman told a press conference.