New Delhi: Hearing a batch of pleas on the controversial Rafale deal, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Central government to disclose information which could be legitimately put in the public domain. It also asked the Centre to furnish the information on induction of Indian offset partner to petitioners who had filed PILs. The apex court asked the Centre to give details of the pricing and strategic details of the deal in a sealed cover in 10 days, reported ANI. The next date for the hearing has been fixed as November 14. (Also read: ‘Wasn’t Forced to Pick Reliance, Clarifies Dassault)
The apex court resumed hearing on four petitions, including the joint plea filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie along with activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, against the controversial Rafale deal. Earlier, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had sought information from the Centre without divulging the technical details and the prices of the Rafale fighter jets. The petitioner had sought a stay on the deal and also directions to the Centre to reveal its details and the comparative prices during the UPA and NDA rule. In their pleas, Sinha, Shourie and Bhushan have sought registration of an FIR into the fighter jet deal between India and France alleging “criminal misconduct” by high public functionaries.
The trio has also sought a direction to CBI to investigate the offences mentioned in their complaint in a “time-bound” manner and submit periodic status reports to the apex court. They had claimed that in 2007, tenders were issued by the Ministry of Defence for the purchase of 126 fighter aircraft and it was specified in the Request for Proposal that 18 of these aircraft would be purchased from abroad in a ‘fly-away’ condition. The remaining 108 were to be manufactured in India in the factory of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited with transfer of technology from the foreign vendor.