New Delhi: Giving a shot in the arm of the Narendra Modi government which is suddenly on the back foot after suffering electoral reverses in state polls, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected all the pleas which sought a probe into the Rafale deal pertaining to the buying of 36 fighter jets by India from France.
The top court said there is no need to doubt the process and interfere in the pricing of the deal which has been picked up by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as a political ammunition to attack Modi ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said: “Mere conjecturing is of no use.”
Despite an unfavourable order, Prashant Bhushan, one of the petitioners, said: “The judgement is totally wrong and against the country.”
Bhushan also said they might think to file a judicial review petition.
“The lies have been exposed,” said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar soon after the judgement, taking on the Congress, which had alleged foul play by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the deal, said.
The ruling BJP and Congress are having a face-off over the Rafale deal ever since former French President Francois Hollande said India had urged France to nominate Indian industrialist Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Industries as its partner in the Rafale deal.
Though Hollande’s claims were denied by the French government, the former stood firm by his statement.
The Congress had claimed that the central government caused a loss of over Rs. 41000 to the exchequer in connection with the Rafale deal.
The party accused the Centre of endangering the national security by bypassing the HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) in favour of some businessman “friends” for offset contract in the controversial Rafale deal.
The Rafale deal has taken the centre stage of Indian politics of late with the Congress demanding the release of the price at which 36 fighter jets were bought.
However, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman denied to reveal the price owing to secrecy clause in the deal.
The Rafale deal was a major issue which the Congress had raised while campaigning in the states, where assembly polls were held recently.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi even called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “thief” innumerable times in last few months.