NEW DELHI: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday addressing a mid-poll presser here explained why he apologised before the Supreme Court after attributing his "chowkidar chor hai" remark to the court and said it was only because the matter was sub judice.
"I apologised to the Supreme Court as the matter is sub judice. Any comment on the matter was unwarranted. Neither have I apologised to the PM nor the BJP.
"Also 'chor' comment now reverberates throughout the country. The remark stands. Anywhere you go and prompt 'chowkidar' people will get back with 'chor hai'."
He was responding to a question over his apology to the Supreme Court earlier this week when he was pulled up by the court for his comment as well as his response to the court.
The apex court had pulled up the Congress President even after he verbally apologised and has given him a third chance to mend his action.
'Who let Masood Azhar out?'
Pointing fingers at the BJP for being the one who allowed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar to return to Pakistan and carry out terror activities over the years, Rahul Gandhi asserted his party will deal with terrorism sternly and strictly.
"Who sent him there (in Pakistan)? How he went there? Which government sent him? The BJP negotiates with terrorists and buckles under pressure. They bowed down before terror.
"It was not done by the Congress," Rahul said amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking credit for Azhar being designated terrorist by world body UN, and terror strikes to wipe out terror launch pads across the border.
"Masood Azhar is a terrorist and strict action should be taken against him. Terrorism has to be dealt with sternly", he said while asserting that the Congress will never negotiate with terrorists.
The Modi government, while taking credit for getting Azhar blacklisted, should also tell the citizens that it was during a BJP regime that the JeM chief was released and he transformed into an even bigger threat to India, the Congress had said earlier on Thursday following the UN action.
Azhar was released from a prison in India in 1999, in exchange for 155 hostages held on an Indian Airlines flight that had been hijacked to Kandahar, Afghanistan. The terror lord then created a base for himself in Pakistan for two decades.