Rafale row: Supreme Court to hear pleas seeking details of deal, JPC probe

Congress party has been pressing for a JPC probe into the deal.

Rafale row: Supreme Court to hear pleas seeking details of deal, JPC probe

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will on Wednesday hear pleas seeking full details of the India-France defence deal for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets and demands for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the same. The matter will be taken up by a top court bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph. 

On October 8, a plea was filed in the top court by advocate Vineet Dhanda in this regard.

Through his plea, the petitioner had sought directions from the top court to the government for disclosing the details of the deal, including the price of each Rafale fighter jet.

Earlier, a PIL was filed in this connection in the apex court. Meanwhile, a third petition was also filed on the Rafale deal by AAP MP Sanjay Singh. The petition filed by the AAP MP called for setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the defence agreement between India and France. 

The top court then clubbed all the three pleas and posted the matter for hearing on October 10.

Meanwhile, the Congress party, which has been saying that it will continue to press for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the alleged defence scam, will hold a Press conference on the issue at 3 PM on Wednesday.

The press conference will be addressed by senior Congress leader Jaipal Reddy.

His Congress colleague Anand Sharma had on Sunday alleged that the Rafale fighter jet deal was the "biggest defence purchase scam" of the century and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was directly answerable.

He also said the Congress would press the Comptroller and Auditor General to scrutinise the deal.

''This is the biggest defence purchase scam of the century. The Prime Minister is directly answerable. He talks on every subject on earth. But he goes on 'maun vrat' when we ask him on Rafale....The Prime Minister himself is complicit,'' Sharma alleged at a press conference.

Referring to a delegation of the Congress, including himself, meeting the CAG over the Rafale deal and the party taking up the issue with the Central Vigilance Commission, he said once the auditor's report was received, Congress would insist on a Joint Parliamentary Committee to look into it.

This was required to fix "accountability of the government and the Prime Minister over the deal," Sharma, the deputy leader of Congress in the Rajya Sabha, said.

Congress has alleged that the government was "unforgivably guilty" of causing loss to the public exchequer worth Rs 41,205 crore in the purchase of 36 'Made in France' Rafale aircraft, 'off the shelf' without 'Transfer of Technology'.

The government had said it does not think a JPC or a CAG audit is set up to satisfy the "ego of an ill-informed leader" who repeats lies with alarming regularity, in an apparent dig at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. 

(With Agency Inputs)

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