- Verdict exposes "campaign of misinformation" by Rahul Gandhi: Amit Shah
- Top court rejected petitions seeking court-monitored probe into the deal
- Court said no merit in corruption allegations in government' Rafale deal
Shortly after the Supreme Court refused to "sit in judgment" on the Rafale aircraft deal, BJP president Amit Shah today said that the verdict has only served to vindicate the Union government's stand that there was no corruption or nepotism in the case. He also demanded that Congress chief Rahul Gandhi apologise to the nation for raising "childish allegations" against the Narendra Modi government, and disclose his source of information on the matter.
"Truth always triumphs! Court's judgment on the Rafale deal exposes the campaign of misinformation spearheaded by Congress president for political gains. The court didn't find anything wrong with the process, nor did it find any commercial favouritism in the deal," Amit Shah said in a tweet soon after the verdict was delivered.
The BJP chief also noted that the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had rejected allegations that the centre coerced the French government into picking industrialist Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence for the deal. "On the contrary, the SC held that govt had no role in selecting offset partners and found no merit in the demand for a probe based on mere perception of individuals. It, therefore, raises questions on the motive of those working to discredit the deal, which is important for India," he said, in an obvious reference to the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress party.
The verdict passed by the Supreme Court today stated that it found no merit in allegations of corruption in the Narendra Modi government's Rs 59,000-crore deal for 36 Rafale jets, bringing relief to the ruling BJP. "There is no evidence of commercial favouritism either," the judges said, asserting that the "perception by individuals cannot be the subject of roving inquiry" by the court.
Addressing the media later, Amit Shah questioned Mr Gandhi's right to question the BJP on the Rafale deal when his own party was plagued by a "history of corruption". "For so long, they kept saying that the country's watchman is a thief, but the truth has finally been revealed," he said. "If you try to sling mud at the sun, the mud will only land on yourself."
Amit Shah claimed that the Supreme Court verdict has come as a "slap on the face of those who do politics based on lies". "Why did the Congress not approach the Supreme Court if it has evidence of corruption? The doors of the Supreme Court are open to everyone... It is clear that they knew their allegations were baseless, without any facts to back them. Everything they said was based on lies," he said. "We are ready for a discussion on the Rafale deal in Parliament. I challenge Congress to come and debate the issue on the floor of the house."
The Congress leadership, however, has refused to see the court ruling as a "setback". "The government gave the Supreme Court one-sided, half-baked information on the Rafale deal... We have said that the Supreme Court cannot decide on the Rafale issue, only a probe by a joint parliamentary committee probe can do that after examining all the files and notings," party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, adding they will continue to insist on such a probe.
The opposition party also pointed out in a tweet that this was not a criminal petition for the court to issue a clean chit, and asked the BJP and the media to "read the court judgment before spreading misinformation".
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had claimed that French aeronautics major Dassault chose Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as an offset partner despite its inexperience in the field just to bag India's order. The government and the aircraft major have both denied the allegation.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal.