The Centre on Monday submitted an affidavit on the Rafale aircraft deal in the Supreme Court, ANI reported. The Narendra Modi government told the court that the procurement process laid down in the Defence Procurement Procedure, 2013, was followed.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government shared a redacted version of a report that it had submitted to the Supreme Court in October on decision-making process with the petitioners in the case, reports said. The Centre told the top court that year-long negotiations led to the Rafale fighter jet deal.
The Congress has alleged that the government is overpaying for the aircraft and the deal has benefitted businessman Anil Ambani. Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s allegations were bolstered by former French President Francois Hollande’s claim in September that the Indian government had proposed the name of Ambani’s Reliance Defence for the offset obligations in the deal.
Last month, lawyer Prashant Bhushan and former Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie moved the Supreme Court seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the deal.
In the redacted report, the government said a team of Indian negotiators led by a deputy chief of air staff rank officer secured the best deal possible for the 36 Rafale fighter jets. In the 16-page document, the government told the court that the Cabinet Committee of Security and Defence Acquisition Council cleared the deal after the team submitted its report in July 2016.
Portions of the report were redacted to protect classified information.
On October 10, the bench had asked the Centre to submit the “details of the steps” taken in the decision making process, sans pricing and technical information. Twenty days later, the court directed the Centre to submit more details – including pricing and strategic details – related to the agreement in a sealed envelope within 10 days.
The report did not contain details about the aircraft pricing, India Today reported.
The court will hear the matter next on November 14.