In an embarrassment to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to him on a criminal contempt petition filed by Delhi BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi for allegedly making “wrong statements” about a recent verdict on admissibility of certain leaked documents in the Rafale case.
“We never said what has been attributed to us by Mr Gandhi,” said a Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
The Bench asked him to respond to Lekhi’s petition by April 22.
“We make it clear that the views or representation attributed to the court in the alleged address made by the respondent (Rahul Gandhi) to the media and public at large has been incorrectly attributed to this court. We had no such occasion to make such a comment during the hearing,” it said.
The Bench said the verdict was only about admissibility of certain documents filed by review petitioners.
The notice was issued to Gandhi after senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Lekhi, submitted that Gandhi had commented that the “Supreme Court has said that chowkidar chor hai” in its April 10 verdict on Rafale review petitions.
BJP MP from Delhi and advocate Meenakshi Lekhi had on Friday filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against the Congress president for allegedly attributing his remarks on the recent Rafale verdict to the top court.
Lekhi, who represents New Delhi in the Lok Sabha, accused Gandhi of attributing his personal remarks to the top court and creating prejudice.
The Congress president had on April 10 claimed that the apex court had made it “clear” that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “committed a theft”. He had made the statement while interacting with journalists in Amethi after filing his nomination papers. He is contesting against BJP leader and union minister Smriti Irani.
Gandhi had also recalled a recent interview by the Prime Minister, in which Modi had said that the Supreme Court had given a clean chit to his government on the Rafale deal.
“Now the SC has made it clear that ‘chowkidarji; (watchman) has committed a theft,” Gandhi had told reporters after filing his nomination papers from the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency.
He had claimed that the apex court had “accepted that there is some corruption in Rafale”.
The apex court, which had earlier cleared the Modi government of accusations of corruption over the Rafale deal with France, had said it would hear a review petition on the basis of the new documents, referred to by the petitioners.
It had allowed the plea of petitioners relying on leaked documents for seeking review of its Rafale judgment and dismissed the government’s preliminary objections claiming “privilege” over them.
“I am happy and I have been saying so for months that Hindustan’s PM has given the air force money to (industrialist) Anil Ambani, and the SC has accepted it. The SC is going to investigate it,” Gandhi had said.
“I want to thank the SC. It’s a very happy day. The SC has talked about justice. Justice has prevailed,” he had added.