Amid Congress-BJP war over Rafale jets, Supreme Court to examine pricing details submitted by Centre

The Modi government recently filed in the top court the sensitive pricing details of the 36 Rafale jets in a sealed cover.

Amid Congress-BJP war over Rafale jets, Supreme Court to examine pricing details submitted by Centre

NEW DELHI: Amid an ongoing war between the ruling BJP and the main Opposition party Congress over the controversial Rafale deal, the Supreme Court is set to examine on Wednesday the sensitive pricing details of the 36 Rafale fighter jets submitted by the Centre in a sealed cover.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph will hold a crucial hearing in the case during which the petitioners, who have sought a court-monitored investigation into the deal, will also make submissions.

The Narendra Modi government had on Monday handed over a 14-page document titled "Details of the steps in the decision-making process leading to the award of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft order" to the petitioners in the case.

The government had also filed in the court the pricing details of the 36 Rafale jets in a sealed cover.

The petitioners are likely to respond to the contents of the documents in which it has been stated by the government that the deal for 36 Rafale jets was negotiated on "better terms" and the Defence Procurement Procedure laid out in 2013 were "completely followed".

In its submission to the top court, the Centre also stated that the approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) was secured before the deal was inked with France.

The details of the decision-making process and pricing were placed in the court in compliance with its October 31 order. 

India signed a defence agreement with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in a fly-away condition as part of the upgrading process of the Indian Air Force equipment. 
The estimated cost of the deal is Rs 58,000 crore.

The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.

The petitions seeking the probe in the Rafale deal were first filed by advocates Manohar Lal Sharma and Vineet Dhanda.
Later, AAP MP Sanjay Singh had also filed a petition.

Former union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan had also filed a joint petition in the apex court. 

In a fresh twist to the Rafale row, Dassault Aviation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eric Trappier had on Tuesday categorically rubbished kickback allegations made by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

"I don't lie. The truth I declared before and the statements I made are true. I don't have a reputation for lying. In my position as CEO, you don't lie," Trappier said when asked to respond to Rahul Gandhi's charge that Dassault was covering up for possible cronyism in awarding the offset deal to Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group.

Rahul Gandhi had earlier alleged that the Dassault CEO lied about the details of the Dassault- Reliance Joint Venture (JV) for offset contracts in the Rafale fighter Jet deal.

Trappier further said that that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will get the first delivery of Rafale fighter jets in September 2019 as per the contract. 
The Dassault top executive said that ''the delivery is totally in time.''