- Apology to Supreme Court is not enough, minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said
- Top court closed a contempt case against Rahul Gandhi over Rafale remarks
- Court also accepted unconditional apology from Mr Gandhi offered in May
The BJP has demanded that Congress's Rahul Gandhi apologise to the people of the country for his allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal. Pointing to Mr Gandhi's "Chowkidar chor hai" slogan ahead of the Lok Sabha election, senior BJP leader and union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Congress leader has not only called the Prime Minister a thief, but he lied about the former French Prime Minister's statements and misquoted the Supreme Court.
"Today the people of the country want to know which powers were backing Rahul Gandhi. All I can say is that the whole campaign is extremely suspicious," said the minister while addressing the media.
"Today, Rahul Gandhi, you need to apologise. Today even the review petition is rejected. You apologised to save yourself from the court. But will you apologise before the people of India?" Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
The Supreme Court today refused to review its earlier decision giving a clean chit to the government in the Rafale fighter jet deal. It also accepted an unconditional apology from Rahul Gandhioffered in May for wrongly linking its Rafale case verdict with the Congress's "Chowkidar chor hai" slogan targetting PM Modi.
Hailing the top court's verdict, leaders of the BJP shredded Mr Gandhi, who is currently abroad.
"Supreme Court has dismissed Review Petition on Rafale. SC says that Rahul Gandhi should not have made political comments without reading the full order. He needs to be more careful in future. We do not want to continue proceedings any further," tweeted the BJP's working president JP Nadda.
He also took a jibe at Mr Gandhi's foreign visits. "From Road to Parliament, Rahul Gandhi and his party tried hard to mislead the country on this issue but Truth Prevailed. I wish Rahul Gandhi would be in the country and should make apologies to the nation," another tweet read.
In an earlier interview to NDTV, Rahul Gandhi had clarified that his apology to the court did not construe an apology to the Prime Minister.
"There is absolutely no apology to PM Narendra Modi. I made a genuine mistake that I said the Supreme Court said it. I am not apologising to the least for saying 'Chowkidar chor hai'," he said.
Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress and Mr Gandhi, who was the party chief at the time, targeted the government over the 36-aircraft deal with Dassault Aviation, saying it involved corruption and crony capitalism.
The Congress has alleged that the government accepted an overpriced deal in 2016 and overlooked public sector aviation firm Hindustan Aeronautics Limited so that industrialist Anil Ambani's rookie firm Reliance Defence could bag an offset contract.
Mr Gandhi also claimed that the "former French president Francois Hollande is calling the Prime Minister of India a thief". His attack came a day after Rahul Gandhi's attack came a day after Mr Hollande told a French investigative journal that the Indian government proposed Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as the India partner for the 36 jet deal and that the French government wasn't given a choice on the matter.
The government, Dassault and Anil Ambani rejected the Congress allegations.
In December last year, the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to the government, ruling that there was no reason to doubt the decision-making process behind the Rafale jet deal.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal.