Clean chit to PM Narendra Modi in Rafale deal case: Will SC review its decision?

The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce on Thursday its verdict on a batch of petitions seeking a review of its earlier judgement giving a clean chit to the Narendra Modi government in the Rafale fighter jet deal case with French firm Dassault Aviation.

Clean chit to PM Narendra Modi in Rafale deal case: Will SC review its decision?

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce on Thursday its verdict on a batch of petitions seeking a review of its earlier judgement giving a clean chit to the Narendra Modi government in the Rafale fighter jet deal case with French firm Dassault Aviation.

The Supreme Court had in its 2018 order given a clean chit to the Modi government on a plea seeking investigation into alleged irregularities in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets by India from France.

The verdict will be delivered by a three-judge bench presided by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph.

The Supreme Court had on December 14 last year dismissed petitions seeking court-monitored probe into Rafale fighter jet deal, saying that there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the deal. The top court had also said that it was not its job to go into the issue of pricing of fighter planes.

Subsequently, review petitions were filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, lawyer Prashant Bhushan and others against the top court`s judgement.

They sought probe into Rs 58,000 deal and registration of first information report (FIR).

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Their petition states that the December 14 verdict contained several errors and it relied upon patently incorrect claims made by the government in an unsigned note given in a sealed cover to the court, which is a violation of the principle of natural justice.

They also alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had signed an agreement for 36 Rafale jets on April 10, 2015, without any such requirement being given by the Air Force Headquarters and without the approval of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which are the mandated first steps for any defence procurement.

The Centre had also filed an affidavit seeking dismissal of the review petition after some internal documents of the Defence Ministry related to the Rafale fighter deal came out in a section of the media.

The Centre asserted that the petitioners had procured privileged documents in an "illegal way" to support their review petitions. 

It told the court that the documents attached by the petitioners are sensitive to national security and relate to war capacity of the combat aircraft.The top court had reserved the order on their pleas in May, earlier this year. 

(With ANI inputs)