The Supreme Court will on Friday deliver its verdict on petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from France. The top court had reserved the judgement on the last hearing on November 14 that lasted for 4 hours.
Appearing for the centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal had submitted the pricing details of the deal to the court in a sealed cover as per the directions of the Supreme Court but refused to make it public, citing secrecy clause. The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi tomorrow is also likely to decide if the details can be made public.
The petitioners in the case include advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, lawyer Vineet Dhanda, AAP MP Sanjay Singh and former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
The petitioners have questioned Anil Ambani’s Reliance defence as the choice of the offset partner, despite having no experience in the airspace sector. On the price of the Rafale aircraft, Bhushan, who appeared on behalf of himself and Sinha and Shourie, said the government was hiding behind the secrecy clause of the agreement.
India signed an agreement with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in a fly-away condition as part of the upgrading process of Indian Air Force equipment. The estimated cost of the deal is Rs 58,000 crore.
The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.