The Supreme Court on Friday gave a clean chit to the Narendra Modi government on the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. The apex court said that there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the multi-billion dollar Rafale deal.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said there has been a necessity of fighter aircraft and the country cannot remain without these 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.
“Our country cannot remain unprepared when adversaries have acquired fourth and fifth generation fighters compared to none by India. We have interacted with senior IAF officers and there is no doubt about the need and quality of Rafale jets,” the court said.
The top court said it is not the job of the court to deal with the comparative details of the pricing. The bench said it does not find substantial matter to interfere with the issue of procurement, pricing and offset partner. The verdict was pronounced on a batch of pleas seeking a court-monitored probe into deal.
Holding a press conference after the Court verdict, BJP President Amit Shah said, “We welcome the judgement of the Supreme Court, the truth has won. People were being misled by unfortunately the country’s oldest party. Its a slap on politics of lies.”
“Rahul Gandhi ji should apologize to the nation for misleading people. Want to ask Rahul ji what was the source of information on basis of which he made such big allegations,” Shah said while hitting out at Congress as the parliament also witnessed slogans of “maafi maango (ask for apologies)” from the BJP side.
India signed the agreement with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in a fly-away condition as part of the upgrading process of Indian Air Force equipment. The deal is estimated to be about Rs 58,000 crore (about USD 8 billion).
The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.
(With inputs from agencies)