NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court (SC) set to deliver its verdict on Rafale review petitions against the apex court's judgement on December 14, 2018 upholding the 36 Rafale fighter aircraft on Thursday (November 14). A Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph will pronounce the judgment.
On May 10, the SC had reserved the decision on the review petitions, including one filed by former BJP leaders and Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
The review petitions were filed against the judgment which was delivered by the SC in December 2018 in which it had dismissed pleas demanding a probe into the Rafale deal inked by BJP-led government at the Centre with French firm Dassault Aviation. The SC bench, however, accepted the submissions made by the Central government providing details of pricing in the Rafale deal and allowed the government to move ahead with the deal.
The Rafale deal hogged the limelight during 2019 Lok Sabha campaign with then Congress chief Rahul Gandhi repeatedly claiming that the Centre was involved in corrupt practices in order to finalise the deal.
The Gandhi scion landed himself in trouble after he attributed his political slogan “Chowkidar Chor Hai” to the top court. BJP MP Meenaskhi Lekhi filed a contempt petition against Rahul Gandhi, who later tendered an apology saying that he had made the statement in the heat of the moment. The SC will also pronounce its verdict in this case on November 14.
On October 8, Defence Minister had received the first of the 36 Rafale fighter jets on behalf of the Indian Air Force (IAF) at Merignac in France. The Union Defence Minister also flew a sortie in Rafale fighter jet from Dassault Aviation Mérignac facility. The 68-year-old Singh sat in the rear seat behind the pilot in the cockpit of the two-seater fighter jet. The head test pilot of Dassualt Aviation, Philippe Duchateau, flew the fighter jet.
Rafale is a highly advanced 4++ Generation fighter which also packs a lethal punch with an array of missiles and bombs, including MBDA's deadly Meteor and Scalp as part of the Rafale weapons package. While Meteor is the world's best Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM), the fire-and-forget Scalp is a long-range, air-launched, stand-off attack missile which can penetrate deep into hard rock and fortified targets.