New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday said that it would consider listing of pleas seeking review of its verdict in the Rafale fighter jet deal case.
The apex court on December 14 last year dismissed a clutch of PILs, including the one filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, saying there was “no occasion to doubt” the decision-making process of the Centre in the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from France.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said four applications or petitions have been filed in the Rafale matter and one of them is still lying with the registry on account of defect.
“The combination (of the judges) of bench will have to be changed. It is very difficult. We will do something for it,” the bench, also comprising Justices L N Rao and Sanjiv Khanna, said when Bhushan sought urgent listing of the petitions in the Rafale case.
Bhushan said that the review petition filed by AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh was defective and other petitions had no defects to be cured.
He also said that besides the review petition, an application seeking perjury prosecution against some central government employees for giving misleading information to the court has also been filed.
Besides Bhushan, Sinha and Shourie had moved the Supreme Court Monday seeking initiation of perjury proceedings against central government officials for allegedly giving “false or misleading” information in a sealed cover in the high-profile Rafale case.
According to news agency PTI, the plea said that the government’s act of stating ‘untruth’ to the court in a sealed cover on ‘pricing’ and its subsequent ‘scandalous’ plea for modification have lowered the ‘sanctity of judicial proceedings.’
In December last year, dismissing a clutch of PILs, including the one filed by Sinha, Shourie and Bhushan, the Supreme Court had said that there was no occasion to “really doubt the decision-making process” warranting setting aside of the defence contract for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
In its judgment, the court made a reference to a CAG report on the aircraft deal. It said the CAG report was examined by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.
The government presented the CAG report in the Parliament during the recently-concluded Budget Session, which said that the fighter jet deal inked by the current NDA government with France was 2.86 per cent cheaper than the one finalised by the erstwhile UPA dispensation in 2007.
The verdict by the apex court that it found no reason to intervene on what it called the “sensitive issue” of purchase of 36 jets from France came as a political victory for the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi just days after the defeat of the party in three Hindi-heartland states–Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh– in the Assembly polls at the hands of the Congress.
PM Modi had come in for a relentless attack from Congress President Rahul Gandhi who alleged corruption in procurement of the fighter jets for the IAF from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, calling it a scam which allegedly benefitted industrialist Anil Ambani.
Holding it did not find any substantial material on record to show there was “commercial favouritism” to any party by the Indian Government in choosing an offset partner, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said perception of individuals cannot be the basis of a “fishing and roving enquiry” by the court and it cannot “sit in judgement” over the wisdom of the decision to go in for purchase of 36 aircraft in place of 126.