New Delhi: Congress leader Pawan Khera faced another setback on Thursday as the Supreme Court dismissed his petition challenging the Allahabad High Court’s decision not to quash criminal proceedings against him. The case stems from objectionable remarks he made about Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a press conference in Mumbai in February 2023.
Khera had referred to the Prime Minister as “Narendra Gautam Das Modi,” a comment perceived as a dig at industrialist Gautam Adani, whose full name includes “Gautam.” The Supreme Court bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta declined to interfere with the high court’s decision, stating, “You go on seeking apologies and apologies. Sorry, we are not inclined.”
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Uttar Pradesh, mentioned the reply submitted based on the charge sheet filed in the case. Senior lawyer Salman Khurshid, appearing for Khera, requested time to file a rejoinder, but the bench declined, emphasizing, “Wishing away an offence, is that possible?”
Khera had challenged the high court’s August 17, 2023 order, which dismissed his plea, stating that the evidence should be evaluated in the jurisdictional court in Lucknow. The Supreme Court had earlier consolidated three FIRs against Khera and transferred them to Hazratganj police station in Lucknow.
Despite Khera’s unconditional apology and interim bail, the Supreme Court’s recent decision allows the trial to proceed. The Congress spokesperson was arrested at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi on February 23, 2023, and later granted regular bail by a Lucknow court.