The Supreme Court dismissing the petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the Rafale deal had elicited jubilant reactions from the pro-BJP camp as they reacted with ‘I-told-you-so’ comments. Many in the media too were quick to declare that it was a mistake to have highlighted irregularities in the Rafale deal. It was not surprising, therefore, to see BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra tweeting with lightning speed to take a dig at Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
Patra, in his tweet, wrote, “The summary of the Supreme Court verdict: Now it’s sure, Chowkidar is pure.”
SC के verdict का लबोलबाब:
अब तो ये sure है..
चौकीदार Pure है
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) December 14, 2018
This was seemingly in reference to Rahul Gandhi’s popular slogan Chowkidar chor hai (Watchman is thief) for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Interestingly, Patra’s tweet lost its steam after it emerged that the Modi government may have lied to the Supreme Court for the latter to issue a favourable verdict.
This was highlighted by Gandhi in his press conference, moments after Patra claimed that Modi was pure in the Rafale deal.
While dismissing the petitions seeking a probe in the Rafale deal, the Supreme Court’s bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had said, “The material placed before us shows that the Government has not disclosed pricing details, other than the basic price of the aircraft, even to the Parliament, on the ground that sensitivity of pricing details could affect national security, apart from breaching the agreement between the two countries.
“The pricing details have, however, been shared with the Comptroller and Auditor General (hereinafter referred to as “CAG”), and the report of the CAG has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee (hereafter referred to as “PAC”). Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before the Parliament, and is in public domain.”
The chairman of the PAC, Mallikarjun Kharge later revealed that his body was not aware of any CAG auditing on the Rafale deal, let alone examining it. Kharge said that the PAC will consider summoning the Attorney General and the CAG chief for grilling by the parliamentary committee. Left red-faced, the Modi government quickly moved to file a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court claiming that the highest court of the country may have misunderstood the government’s submissions, given in a sealed envelope.
It seems the celebration by Patra and his colleagues were short-lived as the Rafale controversy is far from over now.