In a big relief to the Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court today gave clean chit to the government by dismissing all pleas to probe the Rafale fighter jet deal, which was used as a major poll plank by the opposition parties in the recent Assembly polls.
The apex court said that detailed scrutiny is not required in the Rafale fighter jet deal. While reading the judgement Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that the Court is satisfied with the decision-making process and there is no occasion to doubt the process of the deal.
A three judge bench led by CJ Ranjan Gogoi said that the court lacked the technical expertise to examine issues such as pricing and the choice of offset partners. The CJI also cited national security concerns to say that it could not step into issue such as defence contracts and procurements.
Truth always triumphs! Court’s judgment on the Rafale deal exposes the campaign of misinformation spearheaded by Congress President for political gains. The court didn’t find anything wrong with the process nor did it find any commercial favouritism in the deal. #SCNailsRaGaLies
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) December 14, 2018
The court further added that questions were raised on the jet deal only after former French president Francois Hollande came out with the statement. This cannot be the basis of judicial review, it said.
The observation by an apex court bench had came after the government refused to publicly divulge pricing details of the deal, saying it would give advantage to India’s enemies. The deal is estimated to be about Rs 58,000 crore (about USD 8 billion).
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 four petitions seeking probe into the deal were filed by Prashant Bhushan, Arun Shourie, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, advocates M.L.Sharma and Vineet Dhanda, and AAP lawmaker in Parliament Sanjay Singh.
The judgement came as a major vindication for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was personally accused of corruption by the Opposition Congress.