Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday stated that the observation of the Supreme Court on the Rafale fighter jets deal is a win for the government. The BJP leader also said that the Rafale deal allegations have been put to rest with the court's observation.
Addressing a press conference in the national capital, Sitharaman said that the apex court has gone through all aspect of the pricing and replied to all the queries.
After Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also addressed the press conference. He said that fiction writing compromises the credibility. He also said the deal has protected the security of the country.
"If honest deals in the interest of national security are brought under a cloud, our civil servants and officers of defence forces will think 10 times before going forward with processes in the larger security interests of the country," said Jaitley.
Earlier on Friday, the Supreme Court dismissed all petitions seeking an investigation into the Rafale fighter jets deal between India and France. Dismissing the pleas, the top court bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, ruled that there were no irregularities in the fighter jets deal, even as it observed that the judgement cannot be based on “perception”.
After the observation, the apex court said that it was satisfied that the procurement has been complied with. “The extent of permissible of judicial review with respect to contracts relating to defence procurements have to be decided on fact to the factual basis,” said the bench.
Observing that the court could not sit in judgement over the decision to go in for the purchase of 36 aircraft instead of 126, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, "We can't compel the government to purchase 126 aircraft and it is not proper for the court to examine each aspect of this case. It isn't a job of the court to compare pricing details."
Though the court said that it was not its job to get into the pricing detail, it added that the “earlier deal was not forthcoming”.
On the issue of offset partner, the Supreme Court says that it is up to the vendor and not the central government to decide on the same. According to Bar & Bench, the top court added, "It is not the job of this court to go into it."
"There is no reason for interference in the choice of offset partner and perception of individuals can't be the basis for roving inquiry in the sensitive issue of defence procurement," said CJI Gogoi.