The Supreme Court is likely to hear review petitions filed in the Rafale jet deal case on March 6, LiveLaw reported. The bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph is likely to hear the matter after a Constitution bench concludes the proceedings in the Ayodhya dispute case.
On Tuesday, the court had said it will hold an open hearing of the petitions seeking a review of its December 2018 verdict dismissing the need for a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into India’s deal with France to buy Rafale fighter jets.
One of the petitions that was rejected in December was submitted by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan. The court had said there was “no occasion to doubt the Centre’s decision-making process in the deal”.
In their review petition, the petitioners, Sinha, Shourie and Bhushan, had alleged that the judgement “relied upon patently incorrect claims made by the government in an unsigned note given in a sealed cover”. The plea also sought perjury proceedings against officials of the central government for allegedly submitting “false or misleading” data about the Rafale jet deal.
The court will also hear the Centre’s correction plea.
The petitioners had also said that apart from relying on incorrect facts presented by the Centre, the court did not consider a letter that retired bureaucrats had written to the Comptroller and Auditor General, protesting that there had been no CAG report on the deal even though three years had passed since it was signed.
The petitioners said that contrary to government claims, the CAG report on the deal did not exist at that time, and had not been placed before the Public Accounts Committee. In relying on a “non-existent fact” to pass its verdict, the court made a “substantial error”, they argued.
India and France signed a deal in 2016 for the delivery of 36 Rafale aircraft to the Indian Air Force. The Congress has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government of compromising “national interest” and “national security” in the purchase of the 36 jets. The party has said the final deal was overpriced, while the government has claimed it got a superior agreement.