In a big development on Wednesday, the Supreme Court sought details on the pricing of the Rafale jet being bought from France by the Indian government. The Centre’s Narendra Modi government has been avoiding to make the pricing public since it’s believed to be nearly three times more expensive that what the previous UPA government had negotiated with the Dassault Aviation.
The top court, which was hearing a petition filed by Prashant Bhushan, former union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, said that it will hear the case again on 14 November.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, who was representing the government, argued that the details of pricing were covered under the Official Secrets Act and could not be shared. To which the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, “If you have difficulties in disclosing pricing details to the court, please state so on record through an affidavit. We will consider the government’s difficulties and check.”
The top court, according to LiveLaw website, said that whatever documents that could be legitimately produced in public domain should be given to the petitioners and all other documents covered under the Official Secrets Act should be given to the Court in sealed cover.
On 10 October, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre’s Narendra Modi government to explain how decisions were made on purchasing the 36 Rafale fighter jets. The petitioners have alleged massive scam in the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale jets deal with the French company Dassault Aviation. The topic gained considerable momentum after Former French President Francois Hollande dropped a bombshell revealing that the decision to choose Anil Ambani’s Reliance as the Indian offset partner was taken at the behest of the Modi government.
Janta Ka Reporter in its three part series last had first exposed the scam in the purchase of Rafale jets from the French company Dassault aviation. (You can read them here Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3).