New Delhi, October 31: The Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices U U Lalit and K M Joseph on Wednesday asked the Centre to file an affidavit within 10 days time, clarifying that the pricing decided in the Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France, is confidential and could not be revealed and shared with the Court.
The Court further asked the Centre to disclose the reasonable information regarding the Rafale deal that can be put in the public domain along with the petitioners and also gave the liberty to the Centre that it may choose not to share the information related to strategic material or of national security to the petitioners and submit it in before the court in a sealed cover.
The observation of the Court came during the hearing of a clutch of petitions, which also included a joint plea filed by a trio of former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, seeking court monitored CBI probe into the Rafale fighter jet deal among India and France, alleging that the deal between India and France is a misconduct of the criminal nature by the most responsible public functionaries.
The Court has now fixed the matter for hearing on November 14.
An another petitioner in the case sought that Special Investigation Team should investigate the reasons behind the cancellation of earlier deal, which was entered into by the UPA government to make purchase of 126 fighter jets.
During the course of proceedings earlier, the Court had declined to issue a notice to the government, however, it sought details of the procedure followed during the decision-making process which resulted in awarding the contract to the Dassault Aviation.
Controversial deal with between India and France has invited many Pleas challenging the legitimacy of the deal, urging for a directive orders to the Centre revealing contents of the deal finalised along with a comparative price chart during the UPA and NDA rule.
Other petitioners in the case includes lawyer Vineet Dhanda, Advocate ML Sharma, urging to quash the deal on the ground that such deal is not ratified by Parliament under Article 253 of the Constitution, Congress leader Tehseen S Poonawalla and Sanjay Singh, AAP Rajya Sabha lawmaker.
The issue pertains to an inter-governmental agreement entered between Indian Government and France to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of €7.87 billion, in order to revamp IAF fleet by introducing Multi-Role Combat Aircrafts. PM Narendra Modi announced the decision in April 2015. As per the deal, the aircrafts would be delivered in fly-away condition, including weapons, simulators, spares, maintenance, and Performance Based Logistics support for five years.