Shortly after the Supreme Court rejected any corruption in the Rafale jet deal and dismissed petitions asking for an investigation, parliament exploded today with calls for Congress president Rahul Gandhi's apology from the ruling BJP and its allies.
Slogans of "Rahul Gandhi maafi mango (Rahul Gandhi apologise)" were raised from the government benches as soon as both houses began. The Congress president has repeatedly targeted the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal in his election campaign and in parliament.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha that the opposition had been demanding a debate on the jet deal and so, the question hour should be suspended to take up the subject.
The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha both adjourned for the day without taking up much business amid incessant shouting across the floor.
The Supreme Court ruling gave the government a clean chit on the deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets from France's Dassault. The top court said there was no reason to doubt the decision-making process in the multi-billion dollar Rafale deal.
The Congress said, both in parliament and outside, that its campaign for an investigation into the Rafale deal would not stop. "We reject the Supreme Court order. They didn't take up anything. We want a JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee," said Congress' Rajya Sabha member Anand Sharma, his call for a cross-party probe echoed by several Congress leaders.
"There is no need for the BJP to celebrate. The fundamental issues were not discussed by the Supreme Court," Mr Sharma told reporters after the Rajya Sabha was adjourned over disruptions.
The Congress alleges corruption by the government to favour industrialist Anil Ambani and help him bag an offset deal with Dassault though his defence company had little experience. The party alleges that the Centre scrapped a deal for 126 Rafale jets negotiated by the previous UPA government and entered an expensive new contract just to help Anil Ambani.
The offset deal means Dassault has to invest half the value of the contract -- about Rs. 30,000 crore -- in Indian firms.
The Supreme Court said there was "no substantial evidence of commercial favouritism to any private entity", demolishing the Congress and opposition arguments.