Hitting out at Rahul Gandhi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said the Supreme Court's ruling on the Rafale issue is not a setback for the government and alleged that the Congress President has not only misinterpreted the court's verdict but also indulged in contempt of court by attributing words to the apex court which were not in the judgement.
In a scathing attack on Gandhi and his party, she said: "We all know Congress President probably doesn't read even half a paragraph, but by saying that the court has accepted that there is some corruption in the deal, and by also saying that the court has said 'chowkidaar chor hai'... These verge on contempt of court."
She said the president of a party which has ruled the country for so long has "completely shown his frustration by attributing words which were not said by the court".
"Has court said anything to this effect? It is (not) gross contempt of the court?" Sitharaman said at a press conference.
She said the court only allowed some leaked documents to be relied upon by petitioners seeking review of its Rafale judgement but Rahul Gandhi referred to the judgement and said the court has accepted that there was corruption in the deal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was involved in it.
"The court has only asked to produce the documents. The court has not said that these documents are not stolen. Our plea was that these documents are stolen. Whatever the court wants us to produce we have produced and are producing right down... Our objection was that these documents were illegally obtained and partially produced," she said.
"The Congress party can churn as many lies as it can but the people of this country know the truth," she added.
Welcoming the court judgement, Gandhi had earlier said that "truth has prevailed" and challenged the Prime Minister for a debate on the deal.
Speaking to the media after filing his nomination papers in Amethi, 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."
Launching a direct attack on Modi, the Congress leader said the Supreme Court order has made it clear that the watchman (Modi) allowed the theft to happen. "Names of two people are likely to come out if investigations take place in the deal," he added.
The Congress leader also challenged the Prime Minister for a debate on the Rafale deal, on demonetisation and on BJP President Amit Shah's son's rising fortunes since the saffron party came to power at the Centre.
Asked what legal action the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the government is going to take against Gandhi, Sitharaman said: "Dekhte hain... (we shall see)."
Asked whether court's judgement is a setback, she said: "Not at all. 'Sab doodh ka doodh aur pani ka pani ho jayega. Congress muh dikhane layak nahi rahegi (everything would be clear soon and Congress would be embarrassed)."
On Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan remarks that the two countries would have good relations if Modi returns to power, Sitharama said: "No comments."
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