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SC asks Centre for details of Rafale decision-making process in a sealed cover

The apex court, however, made it clear that it has not taken into account the corruption charges made in the petitions

By PTI in New Delhi
  • Published 10.10.18, 12:39 PM
  • Updated 10.10.18, 12:58 PM
  • a min read
  •  
A Rafale fighter jet Shutterstock

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to provide details of the decision-making process in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France in a sealed cover, but clarified that it does not want information on pricing and technical particulars.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S.K. Kaul, K.M. Joseph also made it clear that it was not taking into account the allegations of corruption made in the petitions.

The Centre opposed the Public Interest Litigations in court and sought their dismissal on the ground that they were filed to gain political mileage.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the apex court that the issue in question pertains to national security and such issues cannot be reviewed judicially.

The apex court, however, did not issue any notice to the Centre on the PILs filed by two separate lawyers seeking a court-monitored probe on the deal.

The court sought information from the Centre on the decision-making process in the deal in a sealed cover by October 29 and fixed October 31 as the date for the next hearing on the PILs .

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The top court was hearing various petitions seeking directions, including asking the Centre to reveal details of the deal and the comparative prices during the United Progressive Alliance and National Democratic Alliance rule in a sealed cover to the apex court.

Congress leader and RTI activist Tehseen Poonawala withdrew his PIL seeking direction against the Centre on why the Union Cabinet's approval was not sought as part of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) before signing the procurement deal with France on September 23, 2016.

The Rafale deal is a defence agreement signed between the governments of India and France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly-away condition as part of the upgrading process of the Indian Air Force equipment.

The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.\

The Indian Air Force had advanced a proposal to buy 126 fighter aircraft in August 2007 and floated a tender. Following this, an invitation was sent to various aviation companies to participate in the bidding process.