Supreme Court reserves order on investigation into Rafale deal

Rafale deal scam

New Delhi, Nov 14: The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on pleas seeking a court-monitored investigation into the Rafale fighter jets deal. 

Deputy Chief of Air staff, Air Marshal V R Chaudhari and two other officers from Indian Air Force were questioned by the bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph to assist in the case.

During the hearing, Centre defended its decision saying that there is no sovereign guarantee from French government on delivery of 36 Rafale jets but there is a letter of comfort from the French Prime Minister.

The central government on Monday submitted over a 14-page document related to details of its decision-making process before the apex court in a sealed cover.

The Supreme Court asked about the change in offset guidelines in 2015. In response to this, Additional Secretary of the Defence Ministry explained the defence offset guideline to the court and said that the offset contract runs concurrently with the main contract.

AG KK Venugopal appearing for the Centre told the court that Dassault has not yet submitted details of offset partner to government.

The initial arguments were started by petitioner advocate Manohar Lal Sharma.

Sharma told the bench that report filed by the government in the court reveals that there has been serious fraud while making the decision post May 2015.

He urged Supreme Court that the matter be heard by a five-judge bench.

Counsel appearing for AAP leader Sanjay Singh told the top court that pricing of the 36 Rafale aircraft deal was revealed in the Parliament twice, hence, the submission of government that pricing details cannot be made public was not acceptable.

Senior lawyer, Prashant Bhushan, appearing for former Union minister Arun Shourie, who is also one of the petitioners in the Rafale deal case, submitted to the three-judge Apex Court that only in three situations, the intergovernmental route can be resorted.

He also told the Apex Court that there was no sovereign guarantee from the side of the France government in the deal.

WeForNews 

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