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January 2019
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NRIs are India's brand ambassadors, symbolise country's capabilities: PM        More domestic, international services from Kannur International Airport        Kohli will break all records created by Tendulkar: Zaheer Abbas        Man gets 7 years rigorous imprisonment for robbery        Encounter breaks out at Shopian in J-K        France fines Google nearly $57 million        Full dress rehearsal for Republic Day Parade on Wednesday, traffic restrictions to be in place        Jaitey calls Congress remarks on EVM hacking "lie and garbage"        China''s economy slumps to 28 year low to 6.6 per cent in 2018        Venezuela military group calls in video for not recognizing Maduro        First Indian-American Senator Kamala Harris announces her 2020 US presidential bid        Ross Taylor praises Kohli''s batting prowess ahead of limited-overs series        Halep sent home but Djokovic, Williams headed to the Australian Open quarter-finals        Boo - The World's Cutest dog dies        PM condoles demise of Lingayat seer        CJI recuses from hearing plea challenging Rao's appointment as interim CBI chief        Ankita wins first singles title of 2019 season in Singapore        Kohli is greatest ODI batsman to have played the game: Clarke        Minister says UK faces 'political tsunami' if Brexit halted        Mumbai TDS office issued prosecution notices in 50 ''big'' cases in past one month: CBDT        
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Kerala News
Supreme Court sees no wrongdoing in Rafale deal, rules out probe
 
(New Delhi, Dec 14, 2018):Vindicating the position of the central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Supreme Court on Friday said there was “no occasion to really doubt” the procurement process of 36 Rafale fighter jets “even if minor deviations have occurred”.

The Congress had accused Modi of malfeasance in the deal. The three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said after perusing the material provided by the government and having interacted with Air Force officers, the court did not see any reason as to why it should intervene in “the sensitive issue of the purchase of 36 defence aircraft by the Indian government”.

The Bench said the court lacked the technical expertise to examine issues such as pricing and the choice of offset partners. Justice Gogoi cited national security concerns to say it could not step into issues such as defence contracts and procurements.

“Perceptions of individuals cannot be the basis for a fishing and roving enquiry by this court, especially in such matters. We, thus, dismiss all the writ petitions,” the Bench said.

Apart from advocate M L Sharma, who had moved the first plea in the case, former BJP ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan had filed separate pleas, in which they had petitioned the court to order a court-monitored probe into the decision-making process of the government while buying the jets, the alleged difference in prices in the new deal as compared to the old deal signed by the United Progressive Alliance government, and the choice of the Indian offset partner.

On October 10, the court had asked the government to place before it the details of the steps taken while arriving at the decision to buy the 36 fighter jets. It had made clear that the details being sought were only to ensure the correctness of the decision-making process.

The court had said it would not go into the issue of pricing or matters related to the technical stability of the fighter jets.

The apex court on Friday reiterated its earlier stand and said it could not sit in judgment of the wisdom of deciding to purchase 36 aircraft in place of 126.

“We cannot possibly compel the government to go in for purchasing 126 aircraft,” the court said.

The three judges steered clear of the issue of escalation in the cost of the fighter jets and said though they were inclined to go into the details of pricing, it was not the job of the court to carry out a comparison of pricing details.

The court accepted the government’s claim that there was a commercial advantage in the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft as compared to 126 owing to better terms of maintenance and weaponry.

It did not venture into the issue of choosing an offset partner for the deal, which has been perhaps the biggest sparring issue for the government and the opposition, either, and said it did not find substantial material to show that the government showed commercial favours to any party.

Though Reliance Aerostructure was formed recently, the court did not go into the details of commercial agreements between the Anil Ambani-led Anil Dhirbubhai Ambani Group and Dassault, and said it was “neither appropriate nor within the experience of this court to step into this arena of what is technically feasible or not”.


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