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'Chowkidar Chor Hai': SC closes contempt case after Rahul Gandhi apologises

'Chowkidar Chor Hai': SC closes contempt case after Rahul Gandhi apologises

The Supreme Court closed the contempt plea case against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi after his apology but said that he should have been more careful.

The criminal contempt plea was filed against Gandhi by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi for wrongly attributing "chowkidar chor hai" remark to the top court in the Rafale case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The CJI had reserved order on the then Congress president Rahul Gandhi's plea to close criminal proceedings against him after he tendered an apology to the apex court.

During the hearing senior advocate and Lekhi's counsel, Mukul Rohatgi argued that Gandhi should apologise to the public for wrongfully linking the top court in a political speech.

"Rahul Gandhi led the public astray by saying that the Supreme Court said 'chowkidar chor hai'. Hence, the court should pass an order asking Rahul Gandhi to apologise," Rohatgi had argued in the court.

Gandhi used the slogan "chowkidar chor hai" (security guard is a thief) during the general election campaigns to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the context of the Rafale fighter deal.

In March when the Supreme Court agreed to hear some review petitions in the Rafale deal matter, Gandhi claimed that the top court had also said that "chowkidar chor hai". However, the apex court took strong objection to this, asserting that it never said so.

Representing Gandhi, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the Congress leader had expressed regret even before the court had issued a notice.

The court, however, did not accept it, after which Gandhi had to tender an apology.

Rohatgi had sought necessary action against the former Congress president as per the law.

In a three-page affidavit, Gandhi said: "The deponent unconditionally apologises for the wrongful attribution to the court. The deponent further states that any such attributions were entirely unintentional, non-wilful and inadvertent."

Earlier, Gandhi had expressed regret for his remarks twice in two affidavits, saying that he made the comment in the "heat" of electioneering.

This explanation did not go down well with the apex court, and it asked the Congress leader to file a crisp apology again in the court.

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