The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed all petitions seeking court-monitored probe into the multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter jet deal with France, saying that there was no occasion to doubt decision making process in the deal. The top court said it was not its job to go into the issues of pricing.
"It is upto the vendor and not Central govt to decide. Not the job of this court to go into it," it said.
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A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the multi-billion dollar deal. On the issue of offset partner, the bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, said there was no substantial evidence of commercial favouritism to any private entity.
BJP hits back at Congress after SC verdict
Soon after the Supreme Court's verdict, Home Minister Rajnath Singh demanded in the Lok Sabha that Congress President Rahul Gandhi should apologise on the floor of the House for "misleading" the country on the Rafale jet deal issue.
Amid protests by Congress members in the House, Singh said, "Rahul Gandhi should apologise on the floor of the House for misleading the country on the Rafale jet deal issue for political gains".
Opposition parties led by the Congress have been attacking the Modi government over the deal, alleging that it was struck at an exorbitant price and benefited an Indian businessman at the cost of the government-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The charges have been denied by the
In a series of tweets, BJP president Amit Shah said the court didn’t find anything wrong with the process nor did it find any commercial favouritism in the deal. "On the contrary, the SC held that govt had no role in selecting offset partners & found no merit in the demand for a probe based on mere perception of individuals," he said.
"Truth always triumphs! Court’s judgment on the Rafale deal exposes the campaign of misinformation spearheaded by Congress President for political gains," Shah said on the micro-blogging site.
The Rafale case
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K.M. Joseph had reserved the verdict on November 14.
Advocate M L Sharma was the first petitioner in the case. Later, another lawyer Vineet Dhanda had moved the apex court with the plea for court-monitored probe into the deal.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh has also filed a petition against the fighter jet deal.
After the three petitions were filed, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie alongwith activist advocate Prashant Bhushan had moved the apex court with a plea for a direction to the CBI to register FIR for alleged irregularities in the deal.
The Centre had defended the deal to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets in a ready-to-fly condition while it admitted that there was "no sovereign guarantee from France (government), but there is a letter of comfort..."
The petitioner counsel Prashant Bhushan and former Union Minister Arun Shourie had questioned the circumventing of the procedure for aborting the earlier process for procuring 126 (18 in a ready-to-fly condition and 108 to be manufactured by HAL) fighter jets in favour of procuring 36 aircraft in ready-to-fly condition and unloading HAL as an offset partner.
All the petitioners had broadly assailed the pricing of 36 fighter aircraft and the induction of an offset partner replacing the HAL.
The Centre had defended the deal on the grounds of "urgent requirement" of national security and had justified the scrapping of the earlier deal for 126 aircraft as it was taking long to reach conclusion.