The minister also explained the judgement error that created a massive controversy last week. She said: "In the affidavit, we've given the data and the information. We think there's an interpretation problem, we would like you (court) to look at it and correct it."
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday slammed the Congress for demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the multi-billion dollar Rafale deal. The minister said that the Congress was knowingly misleading the people on the pricing of the Rafale jets. Last week, the Supreme Court dismissed all the petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the deal.
The Congress, however, said that the top court was not the right forum to probe this deal, therefore a JPC should be formed to look into the contract. Responding to the demand for a JPC, Sitharaman said that a politically divided JPC will look into a matter already looked into by the apex court.
“A Bofors JPC ended up converting kickbacks into winding up charges. So to ask for JPC is for Congress’ political grandstanding rather than genuinely knowing, post court’s verdict,” the minister said. She further said that the stance of the country’s “first family” in not listening to the SC’s order can be termed as, “amazing audacity”.
The minister also explained the judgement error that created a massive controversy last week. She said: “In the affidavit, we’ve given the data and the information. We think there’s an interpretation problem, we would like you (court) to look at it and correct it. That’s our appeal to the court, we’ll wait for them to take the call.”
Referring to its submission in the sealed cover, the Defence Minister said: “We explained the process through which info comes to Parliament. In that, the past tense, future tense, present tense and present continuous tense has come into play. That is post the decision, is it not? Therefore how is it going to affect verdict?”
Sitharaman further said that the government has given the price of the fighter jets to the CAG which will send its report to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The PAC will have a look at it and then it’ll become a public document. “It is a process and it has commenced,” the Defence Minister said.
The apex court in its judgement states that “the government has not disclosed pricing details, other than the basic price of the aircraft, even to 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 CAG and the report of the CAG has been examined by the PAC. Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before Parliament, and is in public domain,” the top court says in its order.
Latching on to it, the Congress attacked the government accusing it of misleading the court. The government, however, said that it was an interpretation error on the part of the court. The Centre later moved an application in the top court seeking a correction in the order.