The top Court on Friday rejected the PIL seeking a court-monitored CBI-led investigation into the Rafale deal involving Rs. 59,000 crores for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
“No reason to doubt”
A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi ruled, “We are satisfied that there is no reason to doubt the process is followed and the need of aircraft is not in doubt.”
A batch of petitions was fired at the top court, thereby challenging the Rafale deal. PILs were filed by noted lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan, Former Union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, AAP leader Sanjay Singh, and lawyers ML Sharma and Vineet Dhanda.
The court replied, “We can’t sit in judgment over the purchase of 36 aircraft against 126 fighter jets.”
In front of the three prominent petitioners ML Sharma, Vineet Dhanda, and Prashant Bhushan, the court ruled, “It is not correct for the court to sit as appellate authority in the aircraft purchase.”
Reactions from Petitioners and the Opposition
The leading petitioner in the case, Prashant Bhushan calls the SC verdict “completely incorrect”
He said, “There were indications that there were wrongdoings in the deal and they need to be probed. That is all that we had asked of the Supreme Court. The Air Force has always maintained that they needed 126 aircraft, they have never said that 36 is enough, then there is the question about the pricing…the govt has given details of pricing in a sealed cover and we never got any information about the pricing.”
The Congress-led opposition is unlikely to lay down the arms. It is determined to demand a Joint Parliamentary Committee investigation.
CPI leader D Raja said that they will press the demand for the JPC probe as the PM has not spoken about the deal and the details should be shared with the public.
Mamata Banerjee-led TMC also iterated, “The SC has said what it had to say but political parties in the opposition will demand the JPC.”
BJP hits back at the Congress and demands an apology from Congress President Rahul Gandhi. This happened right after the SC gave Modi-led central government a clean chit.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said, “Every deal is not Bofors deal. It is the culture and tradition of Congress and its top leadership to mint money from such deals on the cost of the country’s national security.”
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh declared that BJP would not allow a JPC investigation into the deal.
Anil Ambani welcomes the judgment
Reliance Group chief Anil Ambani has released a statement welcoming the verdict. “I welcome the judgment of the Hon’ble SC today summarily dismissing all PILs filed on the Rafale contracts, and conclusively establishing the complete falsity of the wild, baseless and politically motivated allegations leveled against Reliance Group and me personally. We remain committed to India’s national security and to make our humble contribution towards the Make in India and Skill India policies of the Government in the critical area of defense including our offset partnership agreement with our valued partner, Dassault Aviation of France.”