Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday tendered an unconditional apology to the Supreme Court for wrongly attributing his "chowkidar chor hai" remark to the apex court and sought closure of the contempt proceedings against him.
In a three-page affidavit, Gandhi said he holds the court in "highest esteem and respect" and "has never sought or intended to, directly or indirectly, commit any act that interferes with the process of administration of justice".
The Congress chief pleaded that the court may "accept the instant affidavit and close the present contempt proceedings".
On April 30, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was categorical that Gandhi had to either offer a clear-cut apology or face criminal contempt for attributing the remark "chowkidar chor hai", targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to the court's April 10 Rafale case order.
The bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, had made the observation while taking objection to the Congress president's first affidavit in which he expressed "regret".
The case will now come up for hearing on May 10 along with petitions seeking review of the court's December 14 Rafale case judgement in which it dismissed all petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the deal for procuring 36 fighter jets from France.
The contempt petition, filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, has accused Gandhi of misquoting the April 10 order when he said the apex court had accepted that 'chowkidar' (a reference to Prime Minister Modi), is a "chor' (thief). He made the remark while talking to reporters in Amethi on April 10.
The Supreme Court had issued contempt notice against the Congress president.
During a previous hearing, former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who represented Lekhi, had said, "He (Gandhi) deliberately put words in the mouth of the Supreme Court. He has only expressed regret. The law is clear in contempt cases that the line starts with an unconditional apology.".
Gandhi's lawyer Abhishek Many Singhvi had said that the Congress chief will tender an apology for the remark made during the "heat of political campaigning".
Singhvi had, however, told reporters, "The stand of Congress, Rahul Gandhi and several opposition parties is clear in the public domain that Prime Minister Modi and several of his ministers were complicit in the Rafale issue. In that context, the political campaign on 'chowkidar chor hai' is being carried out and shall continue."
According to the earlier affidavit filed by Gandhi, he made the remark in the "heat of political campaigning". (ANI)