SC to take up petitions related to Rafale deal today

The top court had on October 31 asked the Union government to apprise it of the details of pricing and cost of the 36 Rafale fighter jets. (File Photo)

The Supreme Court would on Wednesday take up a batch of petitions, including the one filed by former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, pertaining to the Union government's 2016 deal with France to buy Rafale fighter jets.

As the Union government disclosed details of the steps in the decision making process, it would be interesting to watch if the apex court's bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi directs for revealing the pricing of the equipment to the petitioners.

The top court had on October 31 asked the Union government to apprise it of the details of pricing and cost of the 36 Rafale fighter jets.

Also read: Dassault CEO: 36 Rafale jets cost 9% less

It also told the government to share such information on decision making process which can “legitimately” be put in public domain.

Though there was a resistance put by Attorney General K K Venugopal during the previous hearing, the government is learnt to have provided details of pricing in sealed cover to the top court.

The court had earlier also favoured for disclosure of the information on induction of the Indian offset partner, if any, to a group of petitioners within 10 days.

The selection of Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence Ltd as offset partner in the deal with Dassault for buying 36 fighter jets has led the Congress and other opposition parties to launch a frontal attack the Narendra Modi government for favouring the industrialist.

Also read: Modi admitted to theft in Rafale deal in SC: Rahul

The Union government had claimed in its documents furnished to the petitioners that it “completely followed” the defence procurement procedure (DPP) guidelines 2013 for obtaining 36 aircraft.

“All the requisite steps...have been followed. The approval of DAC (defence acquisition council) was taken. Indian Negotiating Team was constituted which conducted negotiations with the French side for about a year and approval of CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) being CFA (competent financial authority) was taken before signing IGA (inter-governmental agreement),” the Union government had said.

With regard to offset partner, the government said, “A joint venture between Reliance Defence and Dassault Aviation came into being in February, 2017. This is purely commercial agreement between two entities.”

Besides former Union Ministers Sinha and Shouri and advocate Prashant Bhushan, two advocates M L Sharma and Vineet Dhanda had filed separate petitions. AAP MP Sanjay Singh also filed another PIL in the matter.

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SC to take up petitions related to Rafale deal today

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