Daylong Congress jibes about the Supreme Court order on Rafale documents received a stunning response this evening from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr Gandhi, he said, he was suffering from the "sins of his father" - former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, during whose tenure the scandal over the purchase of Bofors howitzer guns had erupted.
"Sometimes I think, why is he lying so much? I suspect that perhaps the sins of his father from the Bofors deal are weighing on his mind. In order to wash them, he is smearing the same sins on the rest of the world," the Prime Minister said at a rally in Goa capital Panaji.
The top court today said it was ready to use classified documents accessed by the media without authorization in its review of its December order. The Congress has hailed it as a victory.
Mr Gandhi, who has relentlessly targeted PM Modi with corruption allegations over the deal for the 36 Rafale fighter jets, thanked the Supreme Court. "The entire country is saying that Chowkidar has committed theft. It is a day of celebration that the Supreme Court has talked about justice," Rahul Gandhi said.
Various BJP leaders - from defence minister Nirrmala Sitharaman to finance minister Arun Jaitley, spent the day drilling holes in the Congress's ebullience.
Ms Sitharaman accused Mr Gandhi of misquoting the top court and standing in contempt of the court.
Reminding the Congress that the main petition that calls for a review of the court's December order is pending, Arun Jaitley tweeted:
All that the court has today said is that even a wrongly procured document can be considered for review— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 10, 2019
The issue which delights the beleaguered opposition is at best 'procedural'— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 10, 2019
This was not the first time the Prime Minister had countered corruption allegations on Rafale with allusions to Bofors. On various occasions, he and his party leaders have referred to "Quattrocchi uncle". Ottavio Quattrocchi, the alleged middleman in the purchase of the Swedish guns from AB Bofors, has Italian origin and the reference turned into a jibe at Sonia Gandhi.
Last year, the Central Bureau of Investigation had filed a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging an order of the Delhi High Court in 2005 that quashed all charges against accused persons in the politically sensitive case. The appeal was filed despite Attorney General KK Venugopal's advice against moving court after a 12-year gap.