NEW DELHI: Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha moved the Supreme Court on Monday seeking initiation of perjury against the Centre for filing notes in a sealed cover allegedly containing false information on the Rafale case.
The application is yet to be taken up for hearing in court.
On 14 December, the apex court ruled that it found no evidence of wrongdoing in the government’s decision-making process, as it rejected petitions for an investigation into the Rafale deal.
The court had rejected a batch of petitions for a probe into India’s purchase of 36 French-made Rafale fighter jets, saying 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.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had 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 aircrafts 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".
The court refrained from ruling on the pricing aspect of the fighter jets.
Following the ruling, the Centre had moved an application 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".
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 United Progressive Alliance 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 called Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd, which has an offset contract of about ₹ 30,000 crore for the 36 Rafale aircraft. However, former French President Francois Hollande said the French government was given no choice in the selection of the IOP, with Reliance Group being suggested by the Indian government.