A new turn has taken place in the Rafale controversy today, almost confirming that the deal has not been done fairly and in a transparent manner.
The Supreme Court of India with Just Ranjan Gogoi at the helm of affairs has asked the Union Government to submit the pricing and selection of Anil Ambani’s defence firm for the Rafale Jet Deal. The top court has also asked the centre to submit the details of the Indian offset partner in a sealed cover.
The judges made an observation that they did not question the suitability of the jet and its utility, however, what was being questioned was the bonafide of the decision-making and price.
Earlier on 10th October, the SC had asked the government to furnish all details with regards to the decision making process for the said deal. Although it had not asked for any pricing details at that point in time. However, today, the order for submitting all pricing details for Rafale has come from the top court within less than 20 days from the last order. They said,
“We would like the details of pricing and cost to be submitted to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover. This may be submitted in the next 10 days,” said a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
The government on the other hand firmly argued that even the previous government had not revealed the pricing or any such details. In response to this, Chief Justice Gogoi asked the government to file an affidavit or legal document in court supporting the same.
The current petitions with regards to the Rafale Deal have been filed by Former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, demanding all details of the deal that took place between India and France. They have laid emphasis on the reason why an inexperienced firm such as Reliance Defense was chosen as top partner by Dassault, the makers of Rafale. The petitioners have also alleged that the new deal was unilaterally announced without following any mandatory procurement procedure or approvals from the Defence Ministry.
Nonetheless, the supreme court did say that these details can be considered strategically and may not be furnished to the petitioners.
Congress too has accused the government of sweetening the contract to benefit debt driven Anil Ambani. However, both the government and the industrialist have repeatedly negated any such charges calling them politically motivated.
Indian Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa called the Rafale fighter a critical and twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) that can be a “game-changer” and booster for India’s defence.
ALSO READ –