Rafale Deal: Top Court dismisses review petitions

rajnath-rafale-pti081019NEW DELHI : The Country’s Top Court on Thursday gave clean chit to the Narendra Modi government on the purchase of 36 fully loaded Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault Aviation, rejecting the plea for registration of an FIR by the CBI for alleged commission of cognisable offence in the deal.
The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the review petitions that had challenged its December 14, 2018 verdict giving a clean chit to the NDA government in the government-to-government Rafale fighter jet deal with France’s Dassault Aviation. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Senior Lawyer & Congress leader briefs the media over the Supreme Court’s verdicts today.
The three-judge Bench, consisting of Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S K Kaul, and Justice K M Joseph was responding to review petitions that challenged its original judgement on 14 December 2018
The Supreme Court delivered its verdict on the Rafale case, dismissing the review petitions filed by Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushan, seeking a probe into the Rs 59,000 crore deal between the Narendra Modi-led government and French manufacturer, Dassault Aviation. The Court found the review petitions to “lack merit”, and judged no grounds to file a First Incident Report (FIR).
The Court found the review petitions to “lack merit”, and judged no grounds to file a First Incident Report (FIR)Following the SC’s judgement in December 2018, the Court agreed to hear review petitions founded on allegations that its original verdict was based on “patently incorrect” claims provided by the government
The central government had claimed that it had signed an agreement with France in September 2016, for the procurement of 36 Dassault-made Rafale jets, but at allegedly a higher cost than that originally agreed upon by the UPA government.

The review petitioners cited concerns that the deal included grave procedural irregularities, among which were allegations that the Modi-led Cabinet had not secured the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security.
The petitioners also questioned why Hindustan Aeronautics Limited was dropped as Dassault Aviation’s offset partner, in favour of Reliance Defence. They also raised concerns over why the details of the deal were not disclosed as per the statutes set out in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act.
The Centre contended that the new documents submitted by the review petitioners were leaked but the court found the documents to be in the public domain. On 10 April 2019, the court dismissed the Centre’s objection. It reserved judgement on the case on 10 May 2019.(With Agency Inputs ).

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