In huge relief to the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Supreme Court hearing the Rafale deal headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi has backed the government stand on the deal. It has in its verdict dismissed all petitions seeking court monitored probe . It has also sated that there is no need to probe the pricing and the decision making process.
The SC bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, said that the need of aircraft and quality of aircraft not in doubt and detailed scrutiny is not required.
The CJI-led bench said it also didn’t find any material to show that there was commercial favouritism in the deal as there were allegations that the Narendra Modi had changed the terms of the UPA-era deal and taken the offset contract from state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and handed it to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence, which had no experience in the defence sector
It may recalled that 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.
Aam Aadmi Party 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 alongw ith activist advocate Prashant Bhushan had moved the apex court with a plea for a direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation to register a first information report for alleged irregularities in the deal.
The Centre has defended the deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets and opposed public disclosure of the pricing details.
India signed an agreement with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in a fly-away condition as part of the upgrading process of Indian Air Force equipment. The deal is estimated to be about Rs 58,000 crore (about $8 billion).