Advocate Prashant Bhushan Thursday admitted before the Supreme Court that he made a "genuine mistake" by tweeting that the government had perhaps submitted fabricated minutes of the meeting of the high-powered selection committee on the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as an interim CBI director.
Bhushan, in his tweets, had alleged that the Centre, represented by Venugopal, misled the apex court over the appointment of Rao as interim CBI director.
Attorney General K K Venugopal told a bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha that in view of Bhushan's statement, he would like to withdraw his contempt plea filed against the noted lawyer.
However, Bhushan filed an application in the court seeking recusal of Justice Arun Mishra from hearing the contempt petition filed by Venugopal.
Bhushan also refused to tender an unconditional apology before the bench for seeking Justice Mishra's recusal.
Venugopal told the court that he stood by his earlier statement that he did not want any punishment for Bhushan in the matter.
The bench, however, said it would consider the larger issue of whether a person can criticise the court in a sub- judice matter to influence public opinion.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on April 3.
In his plea against Bhushan, Venugopal had said that Bhushan, in one of his tweets on February 1, had said, "I have just confirmed personally from the leader of opposition Mr Kharge that no discussion or decision in HPC meet was taken re-appointment of Nageswara Rao as interim Director of CBI. The govt appears to have misled the court and perhaps submitted fabricated minutes of the HPC meeting."
The attorney general had said the statement/confirmation attributed to Kharge could never have been made by him for the simple reason that he himself had signed the minutes of the meeting which also contained the final decisions of the high-powered committee.
"If the minutes of the meeting were to be fabricated, the members of the high powered committee who constituted the majority would have to be parties to such fabrication as their signatures are contained on the very same page on which the decision is recorded in the minutes," the plea had said.