Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Thursday tendered an unconditional apology in the Supreme Court for calling the Bulandshahr gangrape incident “a political conspiracy”. The apex court accepted the apology and said that at the next hearing, on February 18, it would hear arguments on the propriety of such remarks by politicians.

On December 7, the Supreme Court had rejected Khan’s apology because it felt it was not “an unconditional”. It had asked the Uttar Pradesh minister to submit a fresh affidavit.

The 15-year-old gangrape survivor had approached the Supreme Court seeking a First Information Report against Khan for his remarks. The apex court had issued a notice to Khan on August 29 for his comment. “It is a democratic principle that a public servant should not comment on the investigation of crime if it is not related to him,” the court had observed then.

After the sexual assault of the minor girl and her mother on the Bulandshahr highway came to light, Khan had said, “We need to investigate whether this is a conspiracy by opponents who want to defame the government.”