Rafale: SC findings on CAG report sparks row

Last Updated 14 December 2018, 18:29 IST

A controversy erupted on Friday with Congress President Rahul Gandhi claiming the CAG report on Rafale aircraft pricing was not shared with Public Account Committee contrary to the Supreme Court's findings.

However, it is to be noted that the apex court's ruling allowing a plea of the government to keep the price under secret was not based on this sole factor.

Any factual error in SC's judgement could be corrected by the same bench on an application of either of parties to the dispute.

After initial dithering on the ground of national security in the PILs demanding probe and disclosure of price of Rafale jet aircraft, the Union government has furnished the details in sealed envelop.

In its judgement, among other factors, a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi noted that the Chief of the Air Staff is stated to have communicated his reservation regarding the disclosure of the pricing details, including regarding the weaponry which could adversely affect national security.

The pricing details are stated to be covered by Article 10 of the inter-governmental agreement, the court noted.

“We have examined closely the price details and comparison of the prices of the basic aircraft along with escalation costs as under the original request for proposal as well as under the IGA. We have also gone through the explanatory note on the costing, item wise,” the bench said.

The court, however, went by the government's response that there was a commercial advantage and better terms as far as maintenance and weapon package were concerned in the new deal.

“It is certainly not the job of this court to carry out a comparison of the pricing details in matters like the present. We say no more as the material has to be kept in a confidential domain,” the bench said.

(Published 14 December 2018, 16:45 IST)

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