In what may come as a relief for Reliance and the Central government, a three-judge bench of the Supreme court dismissed a petition to probe the Rafale deal. The SC also reversed orders on the petitions accusing corruption and procedural irregularities involved in the procurement of 36 jets from Dassault Aviation, reported Live Law.
The bench consisted of Judges Rajan Gogoi, SK Kaul and KM Joseph.
ML Sharma, Vineet Dhanda and AAP MP Sanjay Singh had filed the petitions. A PIL filed by former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan was also part of the petition.
Petitioners accused that the PM went ahead without following the Defence Procurement Procedure. It was argued that the deal was announced before approval from Cabinet Committee and also accused the prices of the aircraft being highly inflated in the new deal. It was also added that the deal was manipulated to bring in Reliance which had no experience in the defence sector.
In the hearing, the Attorney General stated that the there was no sovereign guarantee from the French government for Rafale deal, but France has issued a ‘letter of comfort’ for the deal with Dassault Aviation. He added that, as it is an inter-government deal there is no need for the tender process.
The Attorney General urged the court to not interfere as the matter was highly sensitive, concerning the security of the nation.
The court also questioned officials from the Indian Airforce and Defence Secretary, regarding procedures involving the procurement process.
Amid allegations, over favouring Reliance, Defence Dassault Aviation had clearly stated that they chose Reliance and the Government of India had no say in the decision.
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