Rafale deal | Rahul on the verge of contempt of court, says Nirmala Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said that Congress president Rahul Gandhi was on the verge of having committed contempt of court by attributing to the Supreme Court what it had not said in its order on the Rafale deal.

Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, Ms. Sitharaman said, “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 ‘chowkidar chor hai’, it is verging on contempt of court.”

Asserting that it reflected Mr. Gandhi’s “frustration”, she said that the court order was limited to whether it should consider the documents the government said were illegally obtained by petitioners. “We consider those documents as stolen,” Ms. Sitharaman said. “We will comply with the court’s orders, and the order today was restricted to whether or not these documents, illegally obtained, and published in certain newspapers and magazines were to be part of the consideration on admitting the review petition,” she added.

Mr. Gandhi, she said, had crossed the line of decency in his comments on the court, adding that he was “repeatedly misleading people on the Rafale fighter jet deal.”

She also said that certain media houses had opted to make selective revelations, which were followed by other media houses that had revealed then Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar’s comments on the same document.

The Minister also said that the first Rafale jets would join service with the Air Force by September.

‘Crystal clear’

Asserting that the Supreme Court’s order was not a setback to the government, she said it would help make “everything crystal clear”.

Earlier, Press Trust of India reported that after filing his nomination in Amethi, Mr. Gandhi had claimed that the court had made it clear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed a theft.

Mr. Gandhi also reportedly challenged Mr. Modi to a debate on the Rafale deal, which the Congress claims involved corruption, a charge repeatedly rejected by the government.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 2:45:54 PM |

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