SC rules out Rafale probe, warns Rahul

The Supreme Court refused to re-examine the aspects of pricing, decision making process and selection of the offset partner in India’s deal for purchase of Rafale jet fighters from French company Dassault Aviation.

In the review petition, there were allegations of irregularities on pricing and doubts were raised on decision making in giving priority to Rafale. Aspersions were also cast on choosing Anil Ambani’s company as an offset partner.

A bench headed by the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said such a submission was not fair as the apex court in its December 14, 2018, judgment had addressed all these issues in detail. “We do not consider this to be a fair submission for the reason that all counsels, including counsel representing the petitioners in this matter addressed elaborate submissions on all the aforesaid three aspects.

“No doubt that there was a prayer made for registration of FIR and further investigation but then once we had examined the three aspects on merits we did not consider it appropriate to issue any directions, as prayed for by the petitioners which automatically covered the direction for registration of FIR, prayed for,” said the bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph. While dealing with the allegation of irregularities on the pricing of the jets, the top court said that it satisfied itself with the material made available and it is not the function of this court to determine the prices and act on mere “suspicion” of certain persons.

The Supreme Court rebuked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing to the apex court his “chowkidar chor hai” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the Rafale case, but closed the contempt proceedings against him with a “word of caution” that he must be more careful in future. It took into account the additional affidavit filed by him in which he had tendered an unconditional apology and said that the attributions were entirely unintentional, nonwillful and inadvertent.

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