Rafale fighter jets deal: Central Government gets 2nd clean chit

Updated: Nov 15, 2019, 12:22 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

Dismissing the review pleas, SC says 'we don't consider them fair submission'

The Supreme Court dismissed the pleas seeking review of the 2018 verdict. File pic/AFP
The Supreme Court dismissed the pleas seeking review of the 2018 verdict. File pic/AFP

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday gave clean chit to the Modi government on the purchase of 36 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 R58,000-crore deal. The SC dismissed the pleas seeking review of the December 14, 2018, verdict in which it had said that there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the procurement of Rafale jets.

The rejection of review petitions is tantamount to the SC giving the clean chit to the Narendra Modi government for the second time. "We do not consider this to be a fair submission for the reason that all counsels, including counsel representing the petitioners in this matter addressed elaborate submissions on all the aforesaid three aspects.

"No doubt that there was a prayer made for registration of FIR and further probe but then once we had examined the three aspects on merits we did not consider it appropriate to issue any directions, as prayed for by the petitioners which automatically covered the direction for registration of FIR, prayed for," said a bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi.

The review applications cannot be entertained unless there is an "error apparent on the face of the record", the apex court said. The review petition was filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan. Other review petitions were filed by lawyer Vineet Dhandha and AAP lawmaker Sanjay Singh.

Rahul calls for probe

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the SC Justice K M Joseph has left open a "huge door" for a probe into the Rafale deal. He also called for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 'scam'. "An investigation must now begin in full earnest. A JPC must also be set up to probe this scam," Gandhi tweeted.

'Cong must apologise'

Home Minister Amit Shah has termed the SC verdict a befitting reply to the leaders and parties who rely on "malicious and baseless" campaign, and sought apology from them. "After today's rebuke from SC, Congress leaders, for whom politics is above national interest must apologise to
the nation," he said.

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