- Top court rejected requests to review its clean chit to the government
- India has signed Rs. 59,000-crore deal with France for 36 Rafale jets
- "We find the review petitions are without any merit," the court said
The Supreme Court today rejected requests to review its clean chit to the government in the Rafale fighter jet deal with French firm Dassault Aviation, saying there was no need for a "roving inquiry" into the case.
On May 10, the Supreme Court had reserved the decision on the petitions, including one by former union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, along with activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan, seeking a re-examination of its findings that there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
"We don't feel it necessary to order an FIR (First Information Report) or a roving inquiry into the Rafale deal case," a bench comprising outgoing Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph said while dismissing the petitions. "We find the review petitions are without any merit," the top court said.
In their petition, Mr Sinha, Mr Shourie and Mr Bhushan had alleged that the 2018 judgment "relied upon patently incorrect claims made by the government in an unsigned note given in a sealed cover" to the Supreme Court. They also requested for an oral hearing of the petition in an open court.
The centre had said the petitioners relied on media reports and they can't reopen the case.The articles had claimed that the central government had not revealed all the details in the court.
The top court also closed the contempt case filed against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi by BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi for wrongly attributing his "chowkidar chor hai" remark in Rafale case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the top court.
"I welcome the Supreme Court's categorical dismissal of the review petitions in the Rafale case. The NDA government stands vindicated. The transparency of our government's decision-making has been proven by the Supreme Court," Defence Minister Rajnath Sing told news agency ANI. He also demanded an apology from the Congress.
On December 14 last year, the Supreme Court had ruled that there was no reason to doubt the decision-making process behind the Rafale jet deal, clearing the government, which has been repeatedly accused by the Congress of corruption in the Rs. 59,000-crore contract. The court rejected a probe and dismissed petitions that had alleged that the government had gone for an overpriced deal to help industrialist Anil Ambani's company bag an offset contract with jet-maker Dassault. "There is no evidence of commercial favouritism to any private entity," the court had said.
The Congress had insisted on a joint parliamentary committee probe although the Supreme Court had said that it found "nothing wrong" with the Rafale deal.
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