New Delhi: Hours after the Supreme Court dismissed all the petitions seeking a court-monitored investigation into the Rafale deal, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi and said that the apex court’s verdict means that the disruptors have lost on all counts. He called the allegations by the Congress, “fiction writing that was compromising national security”. On being asked about Congress demands for Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the deal, Jaitley said,”The deaf will never hear an answer.”
Intensifying his attack further, Jaitley said,”Falsehood has a very short life. In this case, it was a few months. Falsehood lowers the credibility of its creator.” He added,”All the figures by the government are correct and all the figures by Rahul Gandhi are false and I have justified it… The truth has only one version and falsehood has many. That is why Gandhi quoted several figures.”
He asserted that Rafale deal has protected both security and commercial interest of India. “Security interest because it increases combat ability of India, commercial interest because the final price was significantly lower both for aircraft and weaponised aircraft than what was negotiated in 2007 and 2012,” the Union Minister said.
Earlier in the day, a Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said there had been a necessity of fighter aircraft and the country cannot remain without fighter jets. “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,” it said.
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.”
“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,” he added vindicating the government stand.
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.
Reacting to the verdict, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi, accusing him of trying to mislead public over Rafale fighter jets deal for political benefit.
Welcoming the judgement, BJP President Amit Shah said, “The truth has won. Unfortunately, people were being misled by the country’s oldest party. It was a campaign spearheaded by the Congress President for political gains. It is (the verdict) a slap on politics of lies.”
Shah also demanded Rahul Gandhi’s apology. “Rahul Gandhi ji should apologize to the nation for misleading people. I want to ask Rahul ji what was the source of information on the basis of which he made such big allegations?”
The Congress, however, continued the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe saying JPC has the right to summon all documents. “There is no reason for PM and BJP Govt to celebrate Supreme Court order which in itself is contradictory. Honourable SC has said it won’t be proper for it to go into details. Supreme Court has not commented on many important aspects,” party leader Anand Sharma said.
Randeep Surjewala, the spokesperson of Congress had said, “The verdict of the Supreme Court today is a validation of what the Congress party stated months again, that SC is not the forum to decide the such sensitive defence contract. Article 136 and 32 are not the forum to decide the issue, the pricing, the process, the sovereign guarantee and the corruption in the Rafale contract.Only forum&only media is a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) which can probe the entire corruption in the deal.”