The central government on Saturday filed its reply in the Rafale jet case praying for the dismissal of the review petition and the application seeking production of official documents, which has allegedly been filed on unsubstantiated media reports and illegally obtained incomplete official documents.
The review petition was filed against the Supreme Court’s order of 14 December which had given a clean chit to the government in the case related to Rafale jets being bought from Dassault Aviation. The plea was filed by Former Union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
On 10 April, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision rejecting the primary objections raised by the government against the acceptance of the 'leaked' official documents which formed the basis of the review petition. The reply today has been filed with respect to the contents of the review petition along with the admitted ‘leaked’ documents.
The Centre in its reply stated that the petitioners were "attempting to bring out the internal processing of this government to government procurement and trying to present a selective and incomplete picture of the same".
Further, it is also submitted that Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the highest decision making bodies on defence matters, had taken sovereign decisions with respect to the deal keeping in mind the “critical operational necessity of Indian Air Force".
The reply also states that the PMO did monitor the progress of the deal, but this is not meant to be construed as 'parallel negotiations'.
Additionally, the Centre submitted all the pricing details related to the Rafale deal to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), which had concluded that the “price of 36 Rafale jets is 2.86% lower than the audit aligned price, apart from additional benefits".
The government shall provide all these documents for the court's perusal.
The Centre concluded in its reply that in the garb of a review petition the petitioners were seeking additional documents and wanted to reopen the matter.
The case shall be heard in the Supreme Court on May 6 before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.