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Rahul Gandhi apologises to Supreme Court again for ‘chowkidar’ goof-up

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New Delhi, May 8, 2019-

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court, tendering “unconditional apology” for “unintentionally” attributing certain comments of his to the top court and pleaded for closure of the contempt proceedings in the matter.

Gandhi had been asked by the apex court to apologise for incorrectly saying that the top court had said “chowkidar chor hai” (the watchman is a thief), an euphemism the Congress chief uses to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the context of the Rafale fighter jet deal.

In the three-page affidavit, Gandhi tendered an “unconditional apology” and requested the court to close the contempt proceedings against him, a petition regarding which has been filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the matter on Friday.

On April 10, Gandhi had told reporters that the Supreme Court had “said ‘chowkidar chor hai’.”

He made the comments hours after a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and including Justices K.M. Joseph and S.K. Kaul, agreed to hear review petitions on its December order in the Rafale matter.

In December, the apex court had rejected the need for an inquiry into the Rafale deal.

After Gandhi’s controversial comments, Lekhi moved a contempt of court petition against him in the top court which took serious cognizance of the remarks, saying these had been incorrectly attributed to it.

The court issued a notice to the Congress leader and asked him to apologise.

On April 22, Gandhi filed an affidavit, expressing “regret” for the comments, saying those were made in the “heat” of election campaigning.

The Supreme Court, however, was not pleased and asked Gandhi’s counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi the reason for mentioning “regret” within brackets in the affidavit.

Singhvi tried to argue that ‘regret’ and ‘apology’ were the same thing but an unhappy Chief Justice Gogoi said, “We have great difficulty in understanding what you are saying.”

The court then gave Gandhi another chance to file a fresh affidavit to express his apology in clear terms, which he did on Wednesday.   (Agency)

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