Amid calls for an apology from him after the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to the Centre in the Rafale deal, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Thursday demanded setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the scam.
An SC bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justices SK Kaul and K M Joseph, dismissed petitions seeking review of its December 14, 2018 verdict, where it rejected a court-monitored investigation into the deal.
“Justice Joseph of the Supreme Court has opened a huge door into the investigation of the Rafale scam. An investigation must now begin in full earnest. A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) must also be set up to probe this scam,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted. Rafale verdict highlights
Justice Joseph, who wrote a separate judgement, said he agreed with the main verdict written by Justice Kaul subject to certain aspects on which he has given his own reasons.
Justice Joseph of the Supreme Court has opened a huge door into investigation of the RAFALE scam.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) November 14, 2019
At a separate press conference, Congress came down heavily on the BJP for “celebrating” the Rafale verdict without analysing the court’s judgment. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the SC judgment paves way for an independent investigation.
“The court has made it clear that its hands might be bound by constitutional boundaries, but not that of an independent investigation agency. Any agency like police and CBI can carry out an independent investigation,” Surjewala said.
“Today the top court justified the Congress’ appeal that under Article 32 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has limited rights and cannot probe the Rafale case. Therefore the Congress did not approach the Supreme Court,” he further said.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court rejected the plea for registration of an FIR by the CBI for alleged commission of cognisable offence on the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault Aviation.
“We find the review petitions are without any merit,” said the bench. Reading out the judgement, Justice Kaul said the judges had reached the conclusion that it is not appropriate to order a roving inquiry into the allegations.
Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh demand apology from Rahul Gandhi
Moments after the clean chit by the Supreme Court, a host of BJP leaders, including Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sithraman, Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah, claimed vindication and demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi, who had led a concerted campaign against the deal during the Lok Sabha elections.
Calling the judgment a “victory of truth”, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the “opposition lost in the court as well as in polls” while Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated the people of India would not forgive the Congress for their “slanderous campaign and calumny”. Home Minister Amit Shah said the verdict was a befitting reply to the Congress and its leaders who carried out a “malicious and baseless” campaign against the BJP government.