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In SC today, review plea of court’s own Rafale verdict saying jet deal doesn’t need scrutiny

The review will be tagged along with an application filed by Modi government seeking correction of two lines in one paragraph of the December verdict.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear a batch of pleas Wednesday seeking a review of its December 2018 judgment where it had said that the Indo-French deal over the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets didn’t need scrutiny.

The top court had agreed to hear the review petition in open court last week.

The review will be tagged along with an application filed by the Modi government seeking correction of two lines in the controversial paragraph 25 of the verdict, and perjury proceedings against the Centre for misleading the Supreme Court.

On 15 December, the Modi government had filed an application seeking correction of two lines in ‘paragraph 25’ of the Supreme Court order on the Rafale deal. The top court “misinterpreted” a note filed along with the sealed cover, the Modi government had said a day after the verdict was pronounced.

In the contentious paragraph, the top court had said that the pricing details of the deal have been shared with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the CAG report has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament.

“Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before the Parliament, and is in public domain,” the court order had read.

Also readPulwama-Balakot helps Modi in polls — issues of farmers, jobs, Rafale don’t exist anymore

Review plea

Associated with the particular case, former union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, along with advocate Prashant Bhushan have also sought to initiate perjury proceedings against government officials for misleading the court on this issue.

The trio had also filed the initial plea challenging the Rafale deal.

In December 2018, the top court threw its weight behind the decision-making process of India’s deal with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft and dismissed all pleas challenging it.

“…Country can’t afford to be unprepared in matters of fighter aircraft,” a bench headed by then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had said.

“We can’t go into wisdom of purchasing 36 in place of over 100 aircraft under the last [UPA] deal… Don’t even need to go into pricing.” he had added.

The order had come on a batch of petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the Narendra Modi government’s controversial purchase of Rafale fighter jets from French firm Dassault Aviation.

Also read: Will be more than happy to supply more Rafale jets to India: Dassault CEO

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  1. Today morning an article has appeared in THE HINDU written by N. Ram about the Rafale deal. I am quoting three different parts from it in the following. The Caps are mine, where I want to emphasize a few lines. But the text is exact same as in N. Ram’s article.

    These excerpts indicate that there is obviously a lot in the Rafale contract negotiated by the Modi government that needs a looking-into. I don’t know if the SC today feels the same way, that the Rafale case needs a more thorough investigation.

    1) However, the CAG report entered this caveat: “In the offer of 2007 M/s DA had provided the financial and Performance Guarantees, the cost of which was embedded in the offer because the RPF had required the Vendor to factor these costs in the Price Bid. But in the offer of 2015 there was no such guarantee as it was an IGA…Therefore, the total saving of ‘AAB3’ million € accruing to the vendor by not having to pay these Bank Charges should have been passed on to Ministry. Ministry has agreed to the Audit calculations on Bank Guarantees but contended that this was a saving to the Ministry because the Bank guarantee charges were not to be paid.
    2) “With the French side refusing to give a sovereign or government guarantee, the Cabinet Committee on Security made a further concession by waiving the requirement of bank guarantees from the French commercial suppliers and instead settled for a legally non-binding ‘Letter of Comfort’ from the French Prime Minister. BY CONTRAST, DURING THE SUBMISSION OF BIDS FOR THE MMRCA TENDER TO THE UPA GOVERNMENT, ALL COMPANIES, INCLUDING DASSAULT AVIATION, HAD SUBMITTED BANK GUARANTEES FROM FIRST CLASS BANKS OF INTERNATIONAL REPUTE.”
    3) “The question of bank guarantees assumes additional importance as 60% of the payments were to be made in advance by the Indian government to the French commercial suppliers. These payments were to be made within 18 months of signing the deal, that is, by March 2018, although the first Rafale fighter jet would arrive in India only after 36 months, that is, in September 2019.”

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