Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court of India dismissed the Rafael review petitions against its December 14, 2018 judgment upholding the Rs 58,000 crore fighter jet deal. Last year, the Rafael deal was one of the hot topics for the opposition especially the Congress to counter BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The flag bearer of the accusation of patchwork in the Rafael deal was Rahul Gandhi. The matter went to the apex court which gave its decision on December 14, 2018.
A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Ranjan Gogoi, dismissed all the petitions filed into the matter. The petitions seeking probe into the deal were filed by Prashant Bhushan, Arun Shourie, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, advocates M.L.Sharma and Vineet Dhanda, and AAP lawmaker in Parliament Sanjay Singh.
Later the decision was criticised by the then Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. After the SC verdict, Gandhi questioned the basis of the judgment saying, “The pricing details have, however, been shared with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the report of the CAG has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).’ This is the foundation of the judgment”.
According to reports, the CAG hasn’t submitted anything to PAC, and the factual error in the court’s order provided Gandhi with fresh ammunition.
Party leader Mallikarjun Kharge, the PAC Chairman, said no such report came before the panel and the CAG was also not aware of it.
A review petition was filed against the SC’s decision on the issue. Today, the top court has dismissed petitions seeking a review of its judgment refusing a CBI investigation into the Rafale fighter jet deal with French firm Dassault Aviation and giving the government a clean chit.
The review petitions were being heard by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.
Welcoming the decision of the apex court, the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “I welcome this judgment of Supreme Court and it is a vindication of our government’s stand. The transparency of our government’s decision making has been given approval by the Supreme Court.”
“I think matters related to defence preparedness shouldn’t be politicised, unfortunately, some people did it for personal benefits. They also tried to malign Prime Minister. I would like to say that it was done especially by some senior Congress leaders”, he added.
Former chief of Air Staff, BS Dhanoa said, “I think we have been vindicated. In December 2018, I had issued a statement that Supreme Court has given a fine judgment and at that time some people said that I was being political, which was incorrect”.
He further hoped that the matter is now laid to rest and said, “Raking up such issues to get political gains, putting the interest of your armed forces behind, I think is not right”.
BJP working President JP Nadda accused Rahul Gandhi of maligning the BJP’s name through the Rafael deal accusation. He said, “From road to Parliament, Rahul Gandhi and his party tried hard to mislead the country on this issue but truth prevailed. I wish Rahul Gandhi would be in country and should offer apologies to nation.”