New Delhi: The Supreme Court’s concern over the ongoing crisis in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was apparent on Wednesday during its hearing on the controversy over Rafale fighter jet deal.
The top court observed that a plea for a court-monitored probe by the agency into the Rafale deal would be considered once the premier investigating agency sets its “house in order”.
“Let CBI put its house in order first,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told advocate Prashant Bhushan, one of the petitioners.
The court’s remarks came when Bhushan, who along with former Union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha has filed a plea in the Rafale case, said they were seeking a court-monitored CBI probe into the deal.
The observation from a bench, also comprising Justices U U Lalit and K M Joseph, assumes significance as the CBI top brass, including its Director Alok Kumar Verma and Special Director Rakesh Ashtana, are embroiled in an internal feud over the allegations of corruption against each other.
The apex court is also seized of petitions in the CBI matter, including those filed by Verma and Asthana. Both have been sent on leave by the government.
When Bhushan referred to the prayer made in their plea for a court-monitored CBI probe into the Rafale deal, the CJI said, “That you will have to wait.”
The Supreme Court asked the Centre to place before it in a sealed cover, within 10 days, the pricing details of 36 Rafale fighter jets India is buying from France.
The apex court also observed that in none of the public interest litigations (PILs) filed before it in the matter, the “suitability” of Rafale fighter jets and its “utility” to the Indian Air Force have been questioned.