New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed all the petitions seeking a court-monitored investigation into the Rafale deal. The apex court said that it did not find any material to show commercial favouritism. (Also read: SC Reserves Verdict on Rafale Deal)
It said there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter jet deal with France. A bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said there had been a necessity of fighter aircraft and the country cannot remain without fighter jets.
It said, “We are satisfied that there is no occasion to doubt the process. A country can’t afford to be under-prepared. It is not correct for the court to sit as an appellant authority and scrutinise all aspects.”
On the choice of an offset partner, Gogoi said, “There is no reason for interference in the choice of offset partner and the perception of individuals can’t be the basis for a roving inquiry in a sensitive issue of defence procurement.”
Vindicating the Government stand, Gogoi said, “We can’t compel the Government to purchase 126 aircraft and it’s not proper for the court to examine each aspect of this case. It isn’t a job of the court to compare pricing details.”
Reacting to the Supreme Court verdict, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “The matter was crystal clear from the beginning and we have been saying that the allegations levelled by the Congress were baseless and to gain political mileage.”
The four petitions seeking probe into the deal were filed by Prashant Bhushan, Arun Shourie, former Finance minister Yashwant Sinha, advocates ML Sharma and Vineet Dhanda, and AAP MP Sanjay Singh.
All the petitioners had assailed the pricing of 36 fighter aircraft and the induction of an offset partner replacing the HAL.
The Centre had defended the deal on the grounds of an “urgent requirement” for national security and had justified the scrapping of the earlier deal for 126 aircraft as it was taking too long to reach conclusion.