The Supreme Court, in its December 2018 verdict, had observed that there was nothing to doubt the government's procurement process for 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
Rafale case hearing: The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected Centre’s plea asking for more time to respond over petitions seeking review of the Rafale verdict. The apex court asked the Centre to file its response by May 4 while posting the matter for hearing o May 6.
The Centre had earlier told the Supreme Court that it needs time to file a detailed reply on as string of petitions seeking a review of the apex court’s verdict over the Rafale fighter jet deal with France. The Centre had also appealed the Supreme Court to defer Tuesday’s hearing in the case
The Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna had on Monday allowed senior lawyer R Balasubramanian, who appeared for the Centre, to circulate a letter of adjournment among the parties of the case.
In what was seen as a setback for the government, the Supreme Court had on April 10, admitted pleas which made ‘leaked’ documents the basis of their appeal seeking review of the Rafale verdict. The top court had dismissed the government’s arguments claiming ‘privilege’ of the documents. The Centre had told the court that the documents were obtained through unauthorised means from the Defence Ministry.
The Supreme Court, in its December 2018 verdict, had observed that there was nothing to doubt the government’s procurement process for 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. It had dismissed all petitions seeking a probe into the alleged irregularity in the Rs 58,000 crore deal.
The Congress-led Opposition has been attacking the Modi government over procurement of Rafale fighter jet. The twin-engine medium multi-role combat aircraft is manufactured by French company Dassault Aviation. The Rafale deal has been one of the major weapons in Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s arsenal against the Modi government in the election season. The top Congress leader has been claiming that the government favoured Anil Ambani’s aviation firm in getting contracts from Dassault while ignoring the state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
India and France had inked a deal in 2015 and the first Rafale jet is expected to arrive in September this year.