New Delhi: The Supreme Court resumed hearing of petitions seeking review of its earlier verdict in the Rafale fighter jets deal. The matter was adjourned by the top court on May 6.
Earlier on Monday, the Centre had told the SC that ‘categorical and emphatic’ findings recorded by the top court in its December 14 last year verdict in the Rafale deal case has no apparent error warranting its review. Slamming the petitioners, the Centre further stated that the scope of the review petition is ‘extremely limited’. It also alleged the demand for review petition is based on press reports and incomplete internal file notings procured unauthorisedly and illegally.
“The review petition…is an attempt to get a fishing and roving inquiry ordered, which this court has specifically declined to go into based on the perception of individuals. A non-existent distinction is sought to be created between an inquiry by the CBI and the court by playing on words,” the Centre’s affidavit said.
The Centre pointed out that all papers and files have been made available to the CAG who has given his report “concluding that the price of 36 Rafale is 2.86 per cent lower than the audit aligned price, apart from additional benefits which would accrue because of change from firm and fixed pricing to non-firm price.” It said that waiver of a sovereign or bank guarantee in government-to-government agreements or contracts is not unusual.
Notably, the plea seeking review of the December 14 verdict and a probe into the alleged irregularities in the multi-crore Rafale fighter jet deal has been filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist-advocate Prashant Bhushan.
The apex court had agreed to hear these petitions in an open court on February 26. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph is hearing the review petitions.
Last year in December, the SC had dismissed all petitions seeking a court-monitored investigation, saying it found “no occasion to really doubt the process” of decision making, pricing and selection of offset partners.
(With agency inputs)