Within hours of expressing regrets in the Supreme Court for his comment on its recent verdict in the Rafale case, Congress president Rahul Gandhi renewed his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi using his trade mark line "Chowkidar Chor Hai" or the watchman is a thief. He said the final judgement would be out on May 23, referring to the counting day for the national election.
"The final judgement that Lotus-brand watchman is the thief will be out on May 23. Justice has to be delivered. The watchman who looted the poor to benefit the rich would be punished," Mr Gandhi tweeted.
Lotus is the election symbol of the ruling BJP.
Rahul Gandhi has been alleging that PM Modi gave undue benefits to industrialist Anil Ambani in the Rafale jet deal. The charge has been vociferously denied by the government and Mr Ambani's company that has bagged an offset contract in the multi-million dollar deal.
On April 10, the Supreme Court had ruled that classified documents accessed by the media can be used as evidence to consider requests to review its clean chit to the Rafale deal. Hours later, Rahul Gandhi had cheered the order, saying, "I want to thank the Supreme Court. The entire country is saying that Chowkidar chor hai (Chowkidar has committed theft). It is a day of celebration that the Supreme Court has talked about justice."
The BJP had taken objection to the comment, saying Mr Gandhi was putting words in the mouth of the top court, and sued him for contempt.
A three-bench judge, headed by Chief Justice Of India Ranjan Gogoi, had rebuked Mr Gandhi for making the comment.
"We make it clear the statement attributed to this court in the address made by the respondent (Rahul Gandhi) to the media and public has been incorrectly attributed to this court. We make it clear this court never made such observation. We only decided on the admissibility of documents," the court had said.
Mr Gandhi today admitted that he had misquoted the Supreme Court after its ruling on the Rafale fighter jet deal and said he had done it as "rhetorical flourish in the heat of political campaigning", without having seen, read or analysed the order. He also promised to the court that he would not "attribute any views, observations, or findings to the Court in political addresses to the media and in public speeches, unless recorded by the Court."
Rahul Gandhi was earlier given a week by the Supreme Court to explain after the BJP filed a contempt case against him. The petition will be taken up tomorrow.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal
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