INDIA BLOOMS NEWS SERVICE
New Delhi: In a setback to the Centre, the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the union government’s objection to considering the stolen Rafale documents as evidence in the case pertaining to Rafale jets, media reports said.
The Centre had earlier told the Supreme Court that the papers, which were accessed by The Hindu, were stolen from the Defence Ministry.
The top court will now not only consider the classified documents as evidence but also review its previous verdict that had given clean-chit to the Narendra Modi government in the Rafale deal (buying of 36 fighter jets by India from France).
The Hindu reports point finger at Modi government over Rafale
In its first report, The Hindu had claimed that the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) held parallel parleys with the French government prompting the Defence Ministry to object to the separate talks.
The Defence Ministry’s objection was quoted by The Hindu, “We may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays [parleys] with the officers of French Government….in case the PMO is not confident about the outcome of negotiations being carried out by the MoD, a revised modality of negotiations to be led by PMO at appropriate level may be adopted in the case.”
The second report stated the Indian government made some unprecedented concessions to France in the Rafale deal.
Days before the signing of the deal, as the newspaper reported, India dropped provisions for anti-corruption penalties and making payments through an escrow account.
In the third report pointing a finger at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, The Hindu stated three Defence Ministry officials had arrived at a conclusion that the Rafale deal (buying of 36 fighter jets from France) made by the Narendra Modi government was not on “better terms” than the one made by the UPA government.
The three Defence Ministry officials, who were the domain experts on the seven-member Indian Negotiating Team (INT), also concluded that the delivery schedule of the first 18 of 36 jets in the new deal was slower than the original procurement process.
Under the Congress-led UPA government, which ruled the country from 2004 to 2014, India has signed a deal to buy 126 Rafale fighter jets.