New Delhi: The Centre has moved an application in the Supreme Court for correction in the Rafale judgment passed on Friday. The application was regarding the submission of the report of the Controller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on the pricing issue of the Rafale jets, and its status before Parliament.
The Centre’s submission recorded under paragraph 25 of the judgment had stated that pricing details were shared with the CAG and that the report was examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).Only a redacted portion of the portion was placed before Parliament, the judgment added.
This had come under question as there is no CAG report on this yet.
Seeking to clear the confusion, the Centre’s application said: “The submission by the Union of India, to the effect that the report “is" examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was a description of the procedure which is followed in the normal course, in regard to the report of the CAG. The very fact that the present tense “is" is used would mean that the reference is to the procedure that will be followed as and when the CAG report is ready".
Similarly, the statement that only a redacted version of the report “is" placed before the Parliament, is referred to in the judgment as “was" placed before the Parliament and is in public domain, the application stated.
The Supreme Court had given a clean chit and found no evidence of wrongdoing in the government’s decision-making process, as it rejected petitions for an investigation into the Rafale deal on Friday.
A Bench headed by chief justice Ranjan Gogoi ruled: “In view of our findings on all the three aspects and having heard the matter in detail, we find no reason for any intervention by this court on the sensitive issue of purchase of 36 defence aircraft by the Indian government."
The court ruled that “perception of individuals cannot be the basis of a fishing and roving enquiry by this court, especially in such matters".
While rejecting a batch of petitions for a probe into India’s purchase of 36 French-made Rafale fighter jets, the Supreme Court said that it found no evidence of wrongdoing in the government’s decision-making process or in the choice of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd as the Indian partner and refused to go into pricing details.
The court also refrained from ruling on the pricing aspect of the fighter jets. A central argument of the Congress is that the successor deal is much more expensive. “It is certainly not the job of this court to carry out a comparison of the pricing details in matters like the present," it held.
Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph were the other members of the three-judge bench that was hearing the four petitions seeking a stay on the RS 59,000-crore Rafale deal, signed between India and France in 2016.
“It cannot be lost sight of that these are contracts of defence procurement which should be subject to a different degree and depth of judicial review. Broadly, the processes have been followed," the court said, while turning down the plea of the petitioners for a Supreme Court-monitored investigation into the deal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s decision to buy 36 jets off the shelf in a government-to-government agreement in April 2015, cancelling the UPA government’s 2012 decision to buy 18 Rafale jets in a fly-away condition and manufacture 108 in India.
The delivery of the jets is slated to begin in September 2019.
Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure Ltd has a 51:49 joint venture with Dassault, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd, which has an offset contract of about ₹ 30,000 crore for 36 Rafale jets. However, former French president Francois Hollande had said the French government was given no choice in the selection of the IOP, with Reliance Group being suggested by the Indian government.
Also read: Rafale jet deal: Dassault chose Reliance Defence as offset partner, says Eric Trappier
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