Published On: Fri, Dec 14th, 2018

SC junks pleas seeking court-monitored probe into Rafale deal

New Delhi: In a big jolt to the Congress and others opposed to prime minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed four petitions seeking court-monitored probe into the purchase of 36 Rafale jet fighters in ready to fly conditions holding that the decision making process.

The apex court said that there was no evidence of commercial favouratism by the government

Referring to their interaction with senior air force officers and the material placed before it, a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Krishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph said: “We are satisfied there is no occasion to doubt the decision-making process.”

Saying that the perception of individuals cannot be the basis of interfering with the deal, Gogoi pronouncing the judgment said that the deal was inked on September 23, 2016 but nothing was called into question till former French President Francois Hollande in an interview alleged pressures from Indian government on the choice of offset partner.

Observing that India can’t afford to be unprepared in the skies, the court said that the need for the aircraft, and the quality of the aircraft was not in doubt, and “We can’t sit on the wisdom…”.

On the choice of offset Indian partner, the court said that the role of Indian government cannot be envisaged as it was entirely for the vendor Dassault to make a choice.

The apex court said that there was no evidence of commercial favouratism by the government.

The Centre had earlier defended the deal while admitting that there was “no sovereign guarantee from France, but there is a letter of comfort…”

The petitions seeking the probe were filed by Prashant Bhushan, Arun Shourie, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, advocates ML Sharma and Vineet Dhanda, and Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker in Parliament Sanjay Singh.

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