Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused Congress president Rahul Gandhi of “contempt of court” for his remarks following the Supreme Court verdict in the review petition on Rafale deal.
Addressing the media in New Delhi, Sitharaman said that the Congress president has committed contempt of court with his claim during a public rally that the apex court said ‘Chowkidaar chor hai’.
“We all know Congress president probably doesn’t even read even half a paragraph, but here, by saying that the court has accepted (that there was a scam) and by also saying that the court has said ‘Chowkidaar chor hai’ – these verge on contempt of court,” Sitharaman said.
“The person who is himself on bail, who has given him the right to misinterpret the court’s verdict?” the Defence Minister asked referring to the 48-year-old Gandhi.
Sitharaman said that the SC verdict today only accepted to review the confidential documents presented before it in Rafale case.
Gandhi had earlier today told reporters in Amethi that the Supreme Court had accepted that there is some form of corruption in Rafale deal and that ‘chowkidaar ne chori karwayi hai’, a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Launching a direct attack on Modi, Gandhi said the Supreme Court order had made it clear that the watchman (Modi) allowed the theft to happen.
Speaking to the media after filing his nomination papers in his parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi said, “A few days ago, the Prime Minister gave an interview to a news channel. On questions related to the Rafale deal, he said that the Supreme Court had given him a clean chit.”
“And today the Supreme Court has accepted that there is some corruption in the deal,” he was quoted as saying by IANS.
“Names of two people are likely to come out if investigations take place in the deal,” he added.
Earlier today the Supreme Court admitted three documents connected to the Dassault Rafale fighter jet deal as evidence in the review petitions on the 14 December 2018 Rafale deal verdict and dismissed the Centre’s “preliminary objections”.
The Centre had claimed “privilege” over the documents citing Official Secrets Act, 1923. The government had said that the documents were stolen but later backtracked and changed its stance saying that they were “unauthorisedly photocopied” and constituted “penal offences under the Indian Penal Code including theft”.
The Defence Ministry said that the petitioners are using documents to make a “selective and incomplete presentation of the facts”.
“It’s reiterated that petitioners are using documents with intention to present a selective and incomplete picture of internal secret deliberations on a matter relating to National Security and Defence,” the Defence Ministry said.
“The documents presented by the petitioners are failing to bring out how the issues were addressed and resolved and necessary approvals of the competent authorities taken. These are selective and incomplete presentation of the facts and records by the petitioners,” the statement added.