New Delhi: In a major relief to the Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court Friday said it was “satisfied” with the decision making process in concluding the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal and rejected demands for a probe, sparking bitter exchanges between the BJP and the Congress.
The verdict by the apex court that it found no reason to intervene on what it called the "sensitive issue" of purchase of 36 jets from France came as a political victory for the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, just days after the bruising defeat of the party in three Hindi-heartland states--Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh-- in the Assembly polls at the hands of the Congress.
Modi had come in for a relentless attack from Congress President Rahul Gandhi who alleged corruption in procurement of the fighter jets for the IAF from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, calling it a scam which allegedly benefitted industrialist Anil Ambani.
Holding it did not find any substantial material on record to show there was "commercial favouritism" to any party by the Indian Government in choosing an offset partner, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said perception of individuals cannot be the basis of a "fishing and roving enquiry" by the court and it cannot "sit in judgement" over the wisdom of the decision to go in for purchase of 36 aircraft in place of 126.
"We are satisfied that there is no occasion to really doubt the process, and even if minor deviations have occurred, that would not result in either setting aside the contract or requiring a detailed scrutiny by the court," it ruled.
Former union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie along with activist advocate Prashant Bhushan, who had moved the apex court with a plea for a direction to the CBI to register an FIR for alleged irregularities in the deal will appeal the judgement....