SC gives clean chit to Modi government in Rafale deal

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The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed all the petitions  seeking a probe into alleged irregularities in the Rafale aircraft deal between the Indian government and France’s Dassault Aviation. “There is no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in Rafale deal,” the Court said.

“We can’t sit in judgement over the wisdom of purchase of aircraft,” said a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, adding, “Our country cannot be allowed to be underprepared.” It is “not the job of this court to go into the differential pricing details, which must be kept confidential,” said the judges, on petitions accusing the government of going for an overpriced deal.

“We don’t find any substantial element to show that there is any commercial favouritism to any private entity”, said the apex court.

It noted the need for induction of 4th and 5th generation of fighter aircraft like Rafale in the Indian Air Force.

The bench said that both sides involved in the deal have clarified all aspects in the procurement.

The court also added that nobody questioned the procurement of Rafale jets when the deal was finalised in September 2016.

On the issue of offset partner, the bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, said there was no substantial evidence of commercial favouritism to any private entity.

The top court said there has been a necessity for fighter aircraft and the country cannot remain without jets.

The CJI, who read out the judgement for the three-judge bench, said no reasons were found to interfere in the procurement process for the fighter jets.

The Supreme Court also said that it is not the job of the court to deal with the comparative details of the pricing.

 

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