As the Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Modi government on Wednesday with its decision to allow leaked documents to review a previous judgment, a political row broke out between Congress led by Rahul Gandhi and the ruling BJP.
Ecstatic over the Supreme Court’s decision, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi claimed moral victory and said that the court has made it clear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “committed theft”.
“The Supreme Court has made it clear that ‘chowkidarji’ (watchman) has committed a theft,” Gandhi told reporters during his rally in Amethi, where he filed his nomination papers on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court has rejected the Centre’s argument that sensitive documents accessed by the media and the petitioners cannot be considered as evidence. The court also said that it will look at the papers and review its earlier verdict where the government was given a clean chit on the contentious Rafale deal.
The top court promised to review petitions against its earlier verdict dismissing all petitions against procurement of Rafale jets will be decided on merits.
The Defence Minister, however, has not taken kindly to the judgment and said the petitioners in the Rafale deal case are using certain documents with the intention to present a selective and incomplete picture of internal secret deliberations relating to national security.
Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party has accused him of contempt of court.
Rahul Gandhi claimed the apex court has “accepted that there is some corruption in Rafale”.
“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,” Rahul Gandhi said.
“I want to directly challenge that the SC has said that you have indulged in corruption,” Gandhi said.
Soon after, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held a press conference to say, “The Congress president probably doesn’t read even half a paragraph of the court’s order, but here, by saying that the court has said ‘chowkidaar chor hai’, it is verging on contempt of court.”
Sitharaman then took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi and said he is out on bail and was accompanied at his nomination filing in Amethi by “the family”, who she said included Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal.
(With inputs from PTI)